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Nomadic Horizon biography
Founded in Chicago, USA in 2015 (initially as "Nomadic")

Nomadic came together as a result of Eric GULBRANSEN and Tom HESLIN's desire to create some music inspired by their mutual love of classic progressive rock, along with other styles that exhibit texture, dynamics, free-form creativity and originality. We knew we wanted to try an alternative to keyboards, and electric violin was the easy first choice. Finding Chuck BONTRAGER by word of mouth was a stroke of luck. He brings a unique voice on his 7 string Viper through a half stack.

The band has released in December 2016, his first 4 song EP "4". The music is a harder version of a band like RUSH using Ibanez guitars and Rickenbacker bass with a solid rhythm section provided by the drums of Henry JANSEN. The band has done some shows with DISTRICT 97 and EDENSONG in 2017.

In 2019, the band released his first full length album "Crushing Time" featuring vocal and instrumental tracks that range from freight train rockers to textural trips into the unknown.

Bio by Nomadic adapted by rdtprog

See also: HERE

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3.00 | 9 ratings
Crushing Time

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4.00 | 2 ratings


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 Crushing Time by NOMADIC HORIZON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.00 | 9 ratings

Crushing Time
Nomadic Horizon Heavy Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

3 stars To Be or Not to Be

How Do We Keep Going?

I had the impression throughout this impressive first full-length release from Chicago, Illinois-based NOMADIC HORIZON, that I was being beckoned into an existential journey, to be...or not to be.

Yes, HOW do we keep going. And WHY?

Lyricist/bassist/synthesizer-wielder/vocalist Tom Heslin delivers thought-provoking, dare I say 'spiritual' challenge as the backdrop to some ferocious heavy progressive music.

Crushing Time

Consider the numerous nuances of this title, which album incidentally folds in the four tracks from NOMADIC HORIZON's 2016 EP. Do we allow time to crush us- the burdens of illness, work stress, relationships, finances, imminent ruin from the pandemic currently ravaging the globe...

Or do we resolutely, with faith, with love crush and overcome and surmount the human construct of 'time'- and seek what is timeless, lovely, absolute?

Do Lyrics Matter?

To me, yes indeed. Does what we sing, say, tell, declare, and cry out- matter?

Today as I write this, for instance, here in the USA we witness a struggle, a confrontation between words/ideas/thoughts/speech/intentions of the heart.

Here, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- a national holiday. Love, nonviolence, active nonresistance.

And we are forced to reckon with the hateful, prejudicial, violent, heedlessly supremacist rhetoric of certain all-too- loud voices in direct competition for our headspace.


This album presents a punchy, powerful package of compositions, drawing from heavy progressive rock precedents (I hear RUSH, BOSTON, and others), utilizing passion, precision, drama, texture, and polish to drive home their message.

There is the multi-dimensional work of guitarist Eric Gulbransen, who at times brings the heft of crunchy power chords, the jangle and sweetness of picked clean chords, searing lead lines, and deft interplay with violinist Chuck Bontrager.

Bontrager wields a seven-string violin (I've never seen one in action), with melodic clarity, yet also at times dueling with razor-sharp and intense lead lines intertwining with lead guitar, both as a double and sometimes a counterpoint.

Or soaring off into the rocking ozone as lead player extraordinaire.

Greg Rapp, current drummer, and Henry Jansen, former drummer, both add their crisp, tasteful, and creative stick- work to the mix.

A Mix of Instrumental and Vocals Tunes

One of the strengths of this album is a deep well of variety within the tracks. The instrumental tunes push each member to expand and bring voice to the instrument they utilize, tempos, textures, and creativity.

And the vocal tracks utilize the clean, clear voice of Breslin, and on one track the heartfelt voice of Michelle Cross in the mix as well.

My Conclusion

I hear this on many levels, and find it rewarding. The band has room and talent enough to grow, to push each other farther into the intricate and complex fields of progressive rock. I hope they do, since this album amply demonstrates their talent, passion, and poise.

That is to say: "Please- BE!"

My rating, a strong 3.5 stars- good, to excellent.

 Crushing Time by NOMADIC HORIZON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.00 | 9 ratings

Crushing Time
Nomadic Horizon Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars "Nomadic Horizon" is a Heavy Prog band founded in 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The band released an EP in 2016 (under the shortened name of Nomadic), and now have released their first full length studio album called "Crushing Time" in June of 2019. The original line up consists of Tom Heslin (vocals, bass, synths), Eric Gulbransen (guitars), Chuck Bontrager (violin) and Henry Jansen drums. The only new member is Greg Rapp who has replaced Jansen on drums, but Jansen appears on 4 of the tracks. This is because the 4 tracks from the EP are included on this album: namely "Carry On", "Nomads", "The Take", and "Confusion". The album consists of 11 tracks with a total run time of 55 minutes. Early on, the band decided it wanted a different sound and opted for a violin player instead of a keyboardist, so they brought on Bontrager.

"Above Ground" begins the album with some heavy guitar chords that brings in the vocals and a melodic guitar heavy style. After two verses, the music goes into a guitar and bass solo that will make you almost think you are listening to Rush. There are several guitar textures going on that change through the solo. The chorus returns, there is a short instrumental interlude, then a repeating vocal line while everything builds back up to another repeat of the chorus. "Gates" is an instrumental interlude with violin and guitar playing together with a melody note for note. This flows into "Carry On", the first of the songs from the debut EP. Churning guitars and violins carry the song into the vocal section. Two verses, bridges and choruses take it into an instrumental featuring interplay between the guitar and violin, both playing quite heavily with the rhythm pounding steadily along. Its great interplay between the two lead instruments. This is followed by a repeat of the bridge and chorus.

"The Journey" has a pensive beginning with soft guitars and the violin taking the lead. A slow beat is established as the violin continues pleading. After 3 minutes, the guitars become more intense and then win over the spotlight. Even though this is a straightforward rhythm, it is a beautiful and emotional instrumental track with a lot of power behind the violin and guitar. "On with the Show" returns to the basic verse/chorus pattern with a standard track. This is followed with "Nomads", another track from the EP. This is a more upbeat instrumental, led mostly by guitars and slightly more progressive. It also features a nice bass solo.

"Forty Years" is the longest track at over 7 minutes. It is another instrumental and quite accessible, but it flows through a lot of different tempos and moods and is mostly led by guitars but the violin gets a chance to shine a too. "The Take" is the 3rd EP track. The track is very heavy during the instrumental breaks and is where the song is the best, but the vocals and melody is a bit lackluster. "Coastline" is yet another instrumental which is very catchy and fast moving, again led by guitars mostly, but with a great heavy bass. Later, the violin and guitar play off each other quite nicely.

"Follow" has a nice moderate beat, and features dual vocals from both Tom and guest Michelle Cross. It's one of the better vocal tracks, but it is still quite standard. The vocals are accompanied by strummed guitar, a moderate beat and a flowing violin. "Confusion" ends the album with the last EP track. Again, you get great instrumental sections but uninteresting vocal melodies.

What I find on this album is that the vocals are good, there is nothing wrong with the lead singer's voice, but the melodies presented by the vocalist are not that interesting and they follow a pretty standard lyrical formula. With better melodies and less formulaic songwriting, it could have been better. On the instrumental side, things are much better. The songs are a bit more progressive, exciting and the use of violin and guitar and the heavy bass lines are the best thing about the album. So, we get 4 star instrumentals and instrumental sections, a decent vocalist, but vocal melodies that lack substance. Fortunately, there are several instrumental tracks here. The vocals would normally provide some variety to the instrumental tracks, so Im not saying they should get rid of the vocals or look for a different vocalist. The melodies just have to be better and less formulaic. Anyway, I recommend the album for the great instrumentals, but have to give it an overall rating of 3 stars.

 4 by NOMADIC HORIZON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

Nomadic Horizon Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams

4 stars This four piece band released his first 4 songs EP and they didn't have many troubles to find the title of this one. They have been compared to Rush which is true in some sections but the harder guitar riffs and the presence of the violin make their music quite different. The singer and bass guitars player Tom Heslin is not your Geddy Lee because his voice is more similar to Michael Sadler of Saga, but how many singers sings like Geddy Lee? I think the influence of Saga is more obvious in a song like "Confusion".The songs are melodic with a harder twist in some places of those bands mentioned. It would be interesting to hear a full album that is in the making as we speak because the band has already written more material to complete this first EP. This EP shows some great musicianship and solid songs from a band that is not trying to reinvent the wheel but to adds their little touch to the classic progressive rock music we all love.
Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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