TIME HORIZON – Transitions [Digipak] (2015-16)
American band TIME HORIZON was formed after musicians Ralph Otteson and Bruce Gaetke started working on a project together back in 2004. “Transitions” is their sophomore effort released at the end of past year, but now it’s being available on physical CD in Digipak format.
Anyone who was lucky enough to catch Time Horizon’s debut five years ago (featured here on the blog) will know that while they bill themselves as neo-prog, what’s actually going down here is an AOR, pomp, light prog crossover where melody and memorability are more important than sheer virtuosity.
Their music is a hybrid of classy AOR and Saga / Kansas / Asia / Magnum like progressive rock, which in fact means ‘elaborated AOR’.
Still revolving round the core duo of Ralph Otteson (keys and vocals) and Bruce Gaetke (drums and lead vocals), the line-up is now completed by guitarist Dave Miller and bassist Allen White. However “Transitions” finds the quartet surrounded by a whole host of guests and helpers, with among many others, no less than Tony Kaye, Jake Livgren and Billy Sherwood helping out, the latter also mixing and producing the album.
As you see, there’s some stupendous musicianship here.
In many ways, “Transitions” as an album which could draw favourable comparisons to John Payne era Asia, Saga accesible melodies, UK prog maestros Arena or indeed, classic pompsters Magnum.
In my book those bands make for high benchmarks and that Time Horizon live up to the expectations they themselves create, is to their immense credit. Everywhere you turn the selections simply drip with melodic hooks that bite in deep and convince without fail.
First listening impressions are enjoyable, but repeated visits reap the richest rewards as the classy instrumental ‘Water Girl’ lays its emotions bare, or sparkling nine minute ‘Prisoner’ sets the impressive musicianship free.
However it’s the opening trio of ‘Only One’ / ‘Only Through Faith’ / ‘Only Today’ which go a long way to illustrating the phenomenal manner in which Otteson’s keyboards and Miller’s guitars intertwine, the duo pushing both together and apart to create a real tapestry of melodies and ideas which hit repeatedly, and will real force.
So combine superb songwriting to skilled musicianship, add in a classy mix and beautiful cover art from the most underrated artist around right now (Ken Westphal) in an excellent Digipak quality, and Time Horizon have provided a record that delivers on every count.
They may have called this release “Transitions”, but don’t be fooled, this album is the finished article, and a truly delicious one.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – Only One
02 – Only Through Faith
03 – Only Today
04 – Prisoner
05 – The Moment is Here
06 – About Time
07 – You’re All I Need
08 – River of Sorrows
09 – Water Girl
10 – Love is Here
Ralph Otteson / Keyboards, vocals
Allen White / Electric and upright basses
Dave Miller / Lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
Tony Kaye – Hammond B3 (4)
Billy Sherwood – Lead Guitar (5)
Jake Livgren – Vocals (10)
David Wallimann – Electric and acoustic guitars (3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10)
Lang Bliss – Drums (3, 9, 10), Drums and Percussion (9)
Bruce Gaetke – Drums (6), Drums and Vocals (1, 5, 7)
Jeff Garner – Guitar (1, 5, 7)
Michael Mullen – Violin (10)
Dan Eidem – Drums (8)
Gary Gehman – Backing vocals (3)
BUY IT !