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Time Horizon - Power of Three CD (album) cover

POWER OF THREE

Time Horizon

 

Neo-Prog

4.13 | 30 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Third time is a charm for Time Horizon and The Power of Three album (now that is what I call convoluted wordplay) , just released in early 2022. Their first two albums were gratifyingly attractive, setting the stage for this third masterpiece. While I enjoy the bleak, atmospheric, dark and at times doomsday-ish style of prog, it is certainly very handy to listen to something a bit more joyful and upbeat. Time Horizon are a HIGHLY skilled US band that are keen in expressing a Christian message but certainly nowhere near preaching mode in any way. Just being positive is what they really wish to evoke and that, they do well indeed. First, the superlative musicality jumps right out at you with massive symphonic keyboard textures, fortified by a wicked rhythm section, as both the reptilian bass and the eruptive drums are first rate. With dual guitarists and two keyboard players, the sound is overpowering, bombastic and often outright poignant, as the material here really shoots for the stars. The lead vocals by David Bradley Mau are exceptionally interesting, very impressive, hinting at times at Saga's Michael Sadler, one of the finer voices in prog rock. Though not boldly going beyond the universe in terms of style, the crafty melodies and the instrumental prowess are seductively enchanting, offering up a convincing set-list of hummable, yet sophisticated tunes, well balanced and expertly arranged. If Yes would have followed this recipe instead of the poppier dross found on their more recent albums, they would still be leading the prog movement.

Within seconds of the opening salvo assaulting my nodes, I started nervously giggling, a sure sign of how affected I am by truly ingenious music. "Living for a Better Day" may also serve as an anthem of sorts, as current as one could possibly hope for. Punchy, bold, confident and goose bumps galore, the voice just seduces within that hard beat and the suave melody. Throw in a brash synth flurry, a sterling guitar splash, a bopping bass ditty (Allan White), all glued together by some sturdy drums from Bruce Gaetke. Straight for the jugular, the delicious musical venom has entered my soul and I like it.

Next up, the insistent and reverential beauty of "I Hear, I See", offering 'hope, truth and wonder', I had a brief thought of what Steve Perry's Journey would sound like in a full-on prog envelope. Intense vocals, heavenly choir work, tough rhythmic pulse, and a simply gorgeous melody. Another anthem for the ages. The instrumental break is breathtaking, sizzling guitars ripping wildly, as the voice just hammers away at any reticence or anxiety. The orgasmic downturn is just pure genius, a masterful finale to a great song.

The short smoky organ-rumbling "Prelude" is a keyboard treat, Raph Ottensen is no slouch on the ivories, a modern day Jurgen Fritz of Triumvirat fame. He is just setting the stage for another insanely tasty track, "the Razor's Edge", a conventional set-up until the double melody kicks in, raising the level to an ever-higher plane, adding bombast and insistence to the mix. Paroxysm at its finest.

Halfway into the album, I cannot help nodding my head in tacit acknowledgement of a great album washing over me, entertained as well as feeling positive and content, no small feat in the current doom-laden bunker world we try to live in. On "Steve's Song" the wild fretless bass played by the famous Michael Manring carves a glorious path, with celestial choir mellotron in the background, just to further their chop credentials, and prove they can play with the best of them. A delicate piano etude ignites the lovely "Time to Wonder Why", a classy ballad if there ever was one, a slow burn, dripping with melancholia, oozing with regret, the focus on the voice and the poignant lyrics.

"The Great Divide" returns to more forceful tone, with hints at vintage Kansas, a supple voice and heavy rhythmic support in close combat, as the Hammond burns brightly, at times almost Deep Purple comes to mind. The mid section settles down into a nice bass groove with tinkling piano and breaks galore, before splashing a few solos on synth and retreating back to the main melody.

The finale arrives in the form of the brooding "Digital Us", a modern take on the mechanical technology that gives us so much opportunity as well as endless propaganda and preaching. Funny how religion is now being displaced by newfangled theories on social conduct, dictating once again what is right, what is wrong and how we should all feel collectively the same. "All so blind" is repeated here not often enough! Perhaps reverting to a more organic life would do us all a favour, rekindling the notions of happiness and serenity as opposed to ceaseless criticism of everything under the sun. The final seconds are current.

I fully understand that I keep giving 5 star reviews, much to the chagrin of some who feel this may be gratuitous but this has been my mantra since day one on PA, highlighting what is really good and staying away from the dross altogether, letting others do the dirty work (Steely Dan song, I believe). I choose to remain positive and upbeat.

5 Strength trios

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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