Horizon Ablaze play a brand of extreme metal that largely consists of atmospheric/progressive/avant-garde black metal, (among other things). It’s an impressive and well-delivered proposition, that’s for sure.
The Weight of a Thousand Suns is reminiscent in some ways of latter-era Emperor. This is a useful starting point for approaching Horizon Ablaze’s music, but the album isn’t defined or constrained by this comparison, of course.
The songs combine aggressive extreme metal with various different aspects of progressive and atmospheric music. An avant-garde influence is also apparent, but this is not overly mined. This latter element of the band’s sound is used as a further layer of icing, rather than constituting the main filler.
A lot of the music here is dressed in more modern attire than a lot of ostensibly similar bands. This ably demonstrates that although Horizon Ablaze are cognisant of the legacy of bands like Emperor, they are also more than aware of the existence of other influential bands, (Gojira, for example), and have a firm eye on the future.
The album is epic and melodic, but without any of the negative connotations that either of those terms can sometimes entail. It’s wickedly well-written, and I very much like the band’s approach of combining older and newer influences, effectively resulting in music that sounds timeless and endlessly effective.
This is a multifaceted and rich release, one that holds a lot of variety and interest across its 45-minute playing time. Each song has its own identity, fitting into the whole as the album flows by.
The band’s singer has a classic blackened snarl that contains more character and charisma than is normal. The rarer clean singing is exceptionally well executed, coming across as a mix of something that Ihsahn or Enslaved might do. Other vocal styles also appear, adding extra depth and texture to music that is already very textured and nuanced as it is.
A strong, punchy, professional production helps the music to breathe and expand, and overall The Weight of a Thousand Suns is a grand, massive release in more ways than one.
Hugely impressive and enjoyable, this is an album that you simply must check out.