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Adventure - New Horizon CD (album) cover

NEW HORIZON

Adventure

 

Symphonic Prog

3.18 | 17 ratings

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TCat
3 stars The band 'Adventure' is a Symphonic Prog band from Norway, originally founded in 1995 by guitarist Terje Flessen and keyboardist Odd-Roar Bakken. They released their first album in the year 2000. This album 'New Horizons' is their 4th album and it was released in January 2019. Their band is now comprised of 6 members with the two founders along with Kjell Myran on lead vocals, Elen Cath Hopen also on lead vocals and keyboards, Terje Craig on bass and Alf-Helge Lund on drums and percussion.

The album starts with 'Slow Fanfare' which is a short instrumental that fits exactly what the title says. It is a slow melody played by synths with a sort of fanfare vibe to it. The follow-up track 'Destiny' is a straight ahead rocker with a sound similar to Uriah Heep or Rainbow. The vocals are decent from Myran who has a very flamboyant and almost operatic voice. The track is quite run-of-the-mill rock which will do good to get your attention at least. The next track is much better and laid out like a suite even though it is not noted in the titles. 'Horizons' definitely has more of a symphonic prog feel. At over 7 minutes, it changes mood, tempo and meter several times and the vocals also feature both Myran and Hopen singing together and the contrast in their vocals works really well. The music veers away from the straight forward rock of the previous track and the result is a more unique sound and interesting track. We can hope the rest of the album follows the formula in this song.

'Eirene (Godess of Peace)' returns a bit to the Uriah Heep sound, but keeps a progressive sound with alternating meters. Part of the vocals are a bit weak when other vocalists sing their part, but when the meter changes to the chorus, things get better again. The instrumental break has some great interplay between the synths and guitars. After a lilting third verse, flutes come in sounding much like a Celtic Jethro Tull instrumental, and that's not a bad thing at all. The meter changes are a bit rough and sudden and not real natural sounding, but it keeps things interesting. 'You Belong' starts off much like the other tracks, but suddenly changes to a more folk-ish style as things go acoustic. There area some interesting harmonies, but the weakness of the vocalists on a softer track become quite apparent here. On the instrumental break, electric guitars take over intensifying the song, but the vocal harmonics are still a bit weak. 'With Tears in Their Eyes' is a short interlude moving to a pastoral sound with acoustic guitar and flute.

'Lighthouse'. After a short guitar fanfare, the song turns pastoral with a flute solo, then vocals begin with another slow track. The band kicks in with the fanfare again before the 2nd verse. Things get suddenly heavier as guitars kick in with a melodic section before another guitar takes over with a great solo. Vocals get operatic-like as this intensifies, and then we get a synth solo over a much faster section. The heavy section returns, establishes it's slower rhythm and another guitar solo happens. A sudden return to a more laid back section features a synth solo and another guitar solo before going back to the main theme vocals. 'Here to Stay' goes for a blues-style rock track, but quickly shifts to a fast rock with Hopen taking the lead this time. Again, we get a more straightforward rocker, but at least it's with female vocals this time. 'Nothing Will Change' is more of a pop song with bad vocals. Myran's vocals don't do as well in a pop song as they do in a heavy, progressive setting.

Next comes 'In Search Of (a New Life)'. This is yet another more accessible sound with another synth heavy pop sound. Myran's vocals are better on this one at least and he also shares lead vocals with Hopen. But this sudden change to a bad pop sound definitely weakens the album. Following this is another short interlude with 'For the Fallen' which is a piano solo with spoken vocals. The last track (and the first track for that matter) are not available on the vinyl edition. This track is called 'Refugees'. It uses a blues inspired sound with a mellotron playing along with the vocals. Soon the band kicks in, flutes and all, as it builds to the chorus. At least, the vocals are more heartfelt in this one. It also takes time for a nice guitar solo. But, the track doesn't rise to the standard of the better tracks on the first half of the album.

The verdict on this one then, is that most of the first half of the album is really good prog rock with leanings toward a symphonic sound, while the second half is much weaker with tracks becoming more pop-like and accessible. Even the first half has its weaknesses however with some really bad vocal sections on softer passages. The best track on the album is 'Horizon' with 'Lighthouse' coming in second. Myran's vocals are the best when the tracks are more symphonic because his operatic and somewhat flamboyant style fits the music well, but his vocals are weak the less progressive tracks. Most of the 2nd half just doesn't live up to the bar that was set by the better tracks. Still, it comes out with 3 stars because the production is good for the most part.

TCat | 3/5 |

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