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Horizon's End: Skeleton Keys
Horizon's End - Skeleton Keys Album Art Work

Horizon's End: Skeleton Keys

Melodic Progressive Metal
4.5/5.0

They got the band back together. Specifically, keyboard player and principal songwriter Sakis Bandis, got Greek progressive metal band Horizon's End back together with its most classic personnel. Skeleton Keys is the band's third album, and the first in 18 years. The recording features some guest artists including Beast In Black vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos, former Horizon's End guitarist Manolis Pilidis, and Stargate guitarist Sotiris Gogos.

No Band Photo Provided

Skeleton Keys is a rather massive undertaking with seven songs over 73 minutes, and concluding with the epic 23 minute opus, Be. Across the album you get dynamic and creative melodic progressive metal where the musical arrangements take precedent. That's not to diminish the vocals or lyrical content. But for my money, a Horizon's End song turns more upon the music, with the vocals nearly an afterthought. Nevertheless, the vocals rise significantly with such songs as Forming Fantasies and Dreamer's Hands.

Otherwise, being written by a keyboard player, you can expect all the songs to feature Bandis' synth skills including piano melodies, lush synth symphonic orchestration, and numerous keyboard solos. After this, six string wizard Kosta Vreto has a significant role and presence, offering everything from sharp riffs to acoustic embellishments to crazy good solos, and plenty of them. You'll also find some impressive musicianship from the rhythm section. Stergios Kouro's drums will rattle your windows with blistering start of Ocean's Grey. Later in the song there's a fine breakdown featuring Kostas Scandalis' bass over the drums. Within Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf, Kouro gives you another exhausting drum workout where the brisk pacing intertwines with rock and jazz fusion rhythms.

Suffice to say, Horizon's End's Skeleton Keys is a creative, entertaining, and vigorous musical workout that will thrill even the most jaded prog metal wonk. Fine stuff, and easily recommended. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another 18 years for the next album.


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The Bottom Line

Horizon's End's Skeleton Keys is a creative, entertaining, and vigorous musical workout that will thrill even the most jaded prog metal wonk. Fine stuff, and easily recommended.

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