Album Review: New Horizon – Conquerors

Album Review: New Horizon – Conquerors

Album Review: New Horizon – Conquerors
Reviewed by Chris Taylor

Back in 2022 New Horizon dropped one of the hidden gems of the power metal genre that year with their debut Gate of the Gods. An epic new project from multi-instrumentalist Jona Tee from H.E.A.T, and vocalist Erik Gronwall. The collaboration was not to last however with Erik being snatched up by Skid Row, leading Jona to recruit Nils Molin of Amaranthe and Dynasty as the new lead vocalist for the band’s second album, Conquerors.

New Horizon exists in that remit of power metal they believe your standard power metal band just simply isn’t majestic enough. Imagine the bombast of Sabaton, and the pace of Gloryhammer.

Right from the word go the opening track Against the Odds begins with a brass build up straight from an epic film score, to then have the triumphant guitars come in blazing and a soaring vocal chant of ‘rise against the odds!’. It grabs your attention in a way only this subgenre of metal can.

Classic instrumentation and heavy metal have always gone hand in hand. This is expertly demonstrated on Conquerors. Every track is filled with grandiose orchestras that add so much weight to the album and are paired seamlessly with the thundering guitar and drums.

To little surprise, Nils vocals are stellar across the board. The album is filled with gigantic choruses and he has all the power needed to carry them. A personal favourite is the magnificent Apollo. Being about the space race it delivers one of the most rousing choruses of the album that wouldn't be out of place in an Avantasia song. Whether belted and epic, or more mellow and restrained, like the intro to King of Kings, the range and variety in his performance is the highlight of this album.

Changing vocalists so early on in a band’s life can often be a death sentence. It’s quite the dynamic shift for fans to adjust to, yet Nils completely sells it on Conquerors. He was absolutely the right vocalist for the job on these songs.

Album Review: New Horizon – Conquerors

We get the obligatory ballad of course with Before the Dawn however it’s lifted by the inclusion of Elzie Ryd, the other clean vocalist of Amaranthe. Anyone who has heard Amaranthe’s last three albums is well aware how well Nils’ and Elzie’s voices go together and it’s just as powerful here. It’s also an opportunity for the classical instrumentation to shine with some beautiful woodwind arrangements that really bring out the emotion of the song.

Closing an album with not just a cover, but a cover of one of the most epic songs from one of the most important metal bands in history, is probably one of the boldest creative choices I have seen all year. It’s a pretty straight cover of Iron Maiden’s Alexander the Great but that’s all it needs to be. The original is perfect, so just throw some modern production and amazing vocals at it and you're all set.

I have criticised albums in the past for being all epic, all the time. This can be especially prevalent within this subgenre of metal, and despite Before The Dawn providing some respite, this album could have easily fallen victim to that as well. Yet Conquerors manages to be fully engaging for the whole runtime. The pacing of the album is perfect, with all the tracks edited to their optimum length, and just enough moments of levity to allow the music to breathe.

Conquerors may not be anything radically new for power metal but New Horizon shows that as long as you have the right musicians for the job you can still create a really exciting album, and one of the most entertaining power metal albums of the year so far.

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