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As thrilling as the progressive wing of black metal can be, most successful acts occasionally run the risk of having the measured remove of an academic. This is by no means a bad thing in the abstract. For example, Ihsahn's bookishness is part of his music's appeal. For the sake of variety, however, it is exciting to hear Horizon Ablaze attack the style with urgency. Their new record The Weight of a Thousand Suns is as instrumentally deft as any of progressive black metal's best, but bites with the intensity of the genre's extreme roots.

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The addition of singer Andre Kvebek (formerly of 1349) makes Horizon Ablaze better equipped to unleash that burning double bass fury than ever. Kvebek's snarl is a key component to The Weight of a Thousand Suns's attitude and is just as honed an instrument as any other on the record. It's a highly professional vocal performance, but the profession at hand is impassioned rage.

This menacing power isn't always present in the record's compositions. Horizon Ablaze are as given to majestic clean vocal sections as they are wrenching aggression, but no matter what tone their music takes, they perform lean in with real muscle. There's a sense that the songs are one sip of coffee away from jumping up another ten BPM. The record's dry tones accentuate the band's twitchiness as well as their tightness, giving songs like opener "Sleep is the Brother of Death" an immedience that a more polite act might ignore. Horizon Ablaze are willing to impose, to slice through their arrangements with razor-sharp blast beats and air-tight cutoffs.

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The Weight of a Thousand Suns will be released on February 16th via Leviatan/Tiger. Follow Horizon Ablaze on Facebook.

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