The new album “Inner Dislocation” by progressive metal geniuses New Horizons was released on the 23rd of February and can already be viewed as an immense musical accomplishment meant for the Italian musicians. Having all the elements present to make a memorable album, an album that you can’t help but want to play from the beginning as soon as it reaches the end.
The album opens with Introspective, a soft repeating piano riff of 5 notes that is supported by swelling sound effects. A short and sweet piece of just over a minute long that manages to use it’s time effectively enough to convey the feeling of looking inwards. It’s quickly replaced by the crushing title track Inner Dislocation. The whole band explodes onto the album here. Smooth overdriven guitar tones by Giacomo Froli and Nicola Giannini and a bassline that lays a super solid foundation by Claudio Froli. On drums Federico Viviani knows exactly when to provide a solid groove and when to catch the instrumental stabs, gluing the musicians together. Towards the end of the short instrumental we are treated to an accelerando (increase in speed) which features a mesmerizing keyboard melody from Luca Guidi, definitely one of the best accelerando recorded
Without so much as a pause for breath, the band launches into Where Is The End. It’s here that we at last get to hear the incredible voice of Oscar Nini. Interestingly enough, the first vocal part enters when the music eventually does become more subdued and occurs over quite a rhythmically complex section. An incredible display of restraint in regard to the arrangement. The effect is paramount when the chorus hits and the vocals soar.
Born In The Future begins as a piano and voice ballad, demonstrating clearly why the band chose this track to be the first single from the album to be released with a video. The highlights of this track are the lead guitar lines Giacomo provides before the pre-chorus and the cascading counter-melody on the piano provided by Luca during it. The whole track is one big crescendo from there as it shuttles to its satisfying conclusion.
Inhuman Wrath begins about as different as it possibly could from it’s predecessor. This is without a doubt the heaviest all-round track on the album. Claudio and Federico really showcase their rhythmic stability and endurance here, providing a non-stop crushing feel. The brief second verse gives us the first example of what Oscar is truly capable of as he begins wailing in the higher parts of his register with precision and ease.
The next track Evolution is a fantastic epic prog instrumental. Listening to this track highlights a specific skill of this band that we don’t consciously become aware of until this point. Their ability to change between vastly different musical sections and feels with ease and purpose. So many prog bands fall into a trap of frequently transitioning just for the sake of it and this often results in the music sounding forced. But when New Horizons do it, it always sounds like the most logical step or ‘evolution’ for the music. Not to mention that after listening to the music with no vocals for 8 minutes it becomes remarkably apparent how skilled each member is on their respective instruments. True virtuosity displayed.
Borderlands is a 2-part epic that comes together for over 12 minutes of intense storytelling in the best possible way. Prog. It’s a swirling journey through many emotions and soundscapes. With an ending that was as surprising as it was impactful.
To conclude the album we get one last epic in the form of The Trail Of Shadows. This one has it all; a massive symphonic intro, shredding guitar transitions, reverb-soaked vocals. By the time the chorus arrives you’d be remiss if you’re not swaying in pleasure with your eyes closed, visualizing the imagery that the music conjures up. It really does leave you longing for more once the final note has faded out into silence.
Overall, “Inner Dislocation” is an outstanding offering of progressive metal from an incredible band that deserves to garner much more recognition. It’s a display of how prog metal should be. Smooth, crisp, clear and cutting without hesitation to be absolutely crushing when the need arises.