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Neptunian Horizon : Descent

Neptunian Horizon has written an ambitious Opera Rock that is maybe too ambitious for its own good.

When I recieved the cd Thomas Minderle of Neptunian Horizon sent me, the artwork, combined with the band’s name, immediately made me think of Jupiter Society, a Prog. Metal band I found out about when a friend of mine, discouraged by its bombastic excesses, gave it to me. To be short, in Neptunian Horizon, I hear a mix between that band, Jupiter Society and While Heaven Wept. I’m sure Thomas (that is a one-man band) would find that description a bit rough, but if you add a pinch of Orphaned Land, sprinkle the whole with little bits of Doom, then the cake starts smelling more like it.

The intentions of Neptunian Horizon are all summarized in their moniker: the band (for the record, Neptunian Horizon is a solo project, but I’ll keep saying ‘the band’) has written an ambitious galactic epic, full of grand schemes involving humanity, the Promised Land, and a lot of Heavy Metal.

The Music can’t really be described as Doom, it even doesn’t belong to the Doom spectrum, or at so little extend that it would be misleading to use that tag. It is so un-Doom that the album is filled with an energic drive expressed and fed by diverse features quite typical of Heavy Metal: you have a high-pitched melodic singing voice, a nasal tenor, that can however deploy a sort of prophetic authority (to be fair, a weak authority as the singer is lacking in power and he can sound a bit off key when his voice rises too high); you have extatic choirs; vrooming guitars propelling notes in an ascentional whirl, developing a proud, manly vibe.

The pace is often hectic, it contributes to an emotional and ardent utterance of the bigger-than-life story the band strives to tell us. Neptunian Horizon is doing a great deal to vary the rhythms, using the rhythm guitar to mark the beat in a swifter mode, going from Heavy-Metalesque soli to hammering doomy movements. It’s an album made of various tragic, fragmented events articulated with a sense of drama that matches the ambitious odyssey you’re invited to embark in. Sometimes, that bombast falls in a high-flown version of Galactica, but happily for us, sensitive doomsters, there are also many more passages on that album where that energy is tempered by a more quiet melancholy, in particular thanks to the piano that holds a solemnity, an almost restraint jubilee – because you can’t change your nature and that guy is definitely trodding a brighter path than the bands we usually review on this site.

’Descent’ is a delicate album, it’s elegant and sophisticated but the abscence of anger, brutality, or even darkness, make it a bit too clean, almost ‘sanitized’. There are some moments in it I’d have hoped to see used more often , like some growls in the track ‘Deep Black Lake’, some quasi martial lines, some flamenco chords etc… On the whole, the album is very deliberate and carefully planned, too much to be really enjoyable; I wouldn’t say this is mandatory by any means, but it’s an interesting effort that you have to give some time to, to really begin to sink into it and catch all the subtelties of it.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Gnostic Insurgence
2. Knights of Pleiades
3. Under Neptunian Horizons
4. Deep Black Lake
5. Prevail
6. Redeem the Fallen
7. Lunar Thanatos
8. The Lost Return
9. Searching for Agartha

Duration : Approx. 49 minutes

Visit the Neptunian Horizon bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-02-08 by Bertrand Marchal
Aesthetic Death
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