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Dark Horizon: Angel Secret Masquerade
Dark Horizon Angel Secret Masquerade album new music review

Dark Horizon: Angel Secret Masquerade

Progressive Metal
4.0/5.0

A dark horizon indicates trouble is on the way. To what extent this applies to Angel Secret Masquerade, the third album of Italian prog metal band Dark Horizon is left to be seen. But since I'll never walk away from problems, I'll take my chances.

Dark Horizon was established in Italy in 1996 and like most bands has gone through a few line up changes in the past. The band consists of 5 members with Daniele Mandelli on guitars and Alessandro Battini on keyboards being the core members who have been part of the quintet from the start. Since the database of rock bands is expanding every day, it's no surprise that I've never heard Dark Horizon. They took off as power metal cover band and then started writing their own stuff in the late Nineties. After releasing a few demos, they produced two albums 2001's Son Of Gods in and Dark Lights Shades in 2004.

Angel Secret Masquerade was already recorded in 2007 and it's unclear why it took another three years to release it. But without revealing my opinion just yet, I am glad they eventually did. Although it took a few extra turns in my CD player before I got into this one, in the end it was time well spent. Dark Horizon plays music in the vein of bands such as Vanden Plas, PowerQuest and Masterplan and, to be honest, they are not far behind in quality. They may not break new ground, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not spot a weak track on this album.

The disc opens with the powerful and speedy Empty Mirror, followed by the nice mid tempo rocker It Takes A Miracle that reminded me of PowerQuest. But contrary to many other relative newcomers, the album does not fade away towards the end. Moreover, the more you let the tracks sink in, the more you discover that you are listening to a bunch of crafty and intelligent compositions, with plenty of variety, strong guitar work and tons of melody. But what I like most about this album is the finesse in which the keyboards are blended into to mix. They are inventive and creative, lifting each track to a serious level of maturity.

Personal favourites are the short but powerful Battle Rages On, the AOR flavour of The Age Of The Light, the variety in It takes A Miracle, and the power ballad Silently. The only thing that could improve is the production. The disc was recorded at the Finnvox studios in Helsinki but, nevertheless, the sound is a little flat, We are not talking shoebox stuff here, but I've heard similar and more lively albums lately (for instance, Time To Be King by Masterplan) and an album like Angel Secret Masquerade not only needs, but also deserves a better sound.

Is the horizon really that dark? Well, I have to disagree as long as these guys keep coming up with albums like Angel Secret Masquerade. In that case they will escape their own shadow quickly and make the horizon look a little brighter in the end.




CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Is the horizon really that dark? Well, I have to disagree as long as these guys keep coming up with albums like Angel Secret Masquerade. In that case they will escape their own shadow quickly and make the horizon look a little brighter in the end.

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