|Musical Style: Progressive Rock||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Melodic Revolution||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2015||Artist Website: Time Horizon|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 56:46|
Meet Transitions, the fall of 2015 Melodic Revolution Records progressive rock sophomore album of Manteca, California based Time Horizon. Same recipe as the group’s 2011 full-length debut Living Water (or for just about any album within the progressive genre for that matter): lengthy songwriting, unconventional compositional structures and extensive instrumental proclivity all wrapped in a package that speaks of technical intricacies, outside the box inventiveness and unexpected twists and turns. A few ingredients, however, are new, and that is the Time Horizon affinity for mixing aspects of AOR and melodic rock with its foundational progressive basis.
Essentially, Time Horizon, a group that embodies a lyrical Christian worldview, started as “a bunch of friends (that wrote) music together and played around the Central Valley of California for a few years (until recording) an album that was never released due to the disbanding of (its) members” (referencing the Time Horizon press material). The album in question came to fruition as a result of founding members drummer Bruce Gaetke and keyboardist Ralph Otteson, with the former mixing it and latter funding it. Time Horizon later formed a partnership with Living Water International to help people in third world countries by raising funds for clean water. Hence, the title to the groups debut, Living Water.
For Transitions, the Time Horizon press material lists so many performers to come and go during the writing and recording process it is almost like reading the waiver wire of a typical team during the NFL pre-season: Players A & B are cut, while players C & D are signed. The team re-signs Player A only to cut him again; player B also returns but signs to the practice squad where he stays the remainder of the season. Wash, rinse and repeat ad infinitum. It’s a miracle that Time Horizon got anything done let alone records an album of such high quality as Transitions in the face of so much transition (no pun intended).
My take on said press material is that Gaetke and Otteson later rounded out the Time Horizon line up with bassist Allen White and guitarist Dave Miller. That would only be telling part of the story, however, in that when completing work on Transitions the group brought in such an extensive host of guest musicians as to be too numerous to mention. The albums liner notes, for instance, break down between ‘contributing musicians’ and ‘guest artists’ that combine for three vocalists, three guitarists, two drummers, one violinist and one organist. The good news is that the band provides attribution as to which player performs on each song.
The Time Horizon trademark joining of the progressive and AOR best stands out on excellent opener “Only One”. The song maneuvers from the start to light guitar tinctures and airy keyboards, with a breathing bass line in punctual support of its calmly drifting verses and abundant melody defining the draw you in at once radio friendly refrain. Multiple instrumental excursion help take “Only One” out to seven satisfying minutes.
“Only Today” also falls within seven-minute territory. A prodigious bass presence stands out here as well, as the AOR twinges maintain themselves but in the overall heavier and more robust package. Beautiful vocal melodies also make their presence felt, delicately interweaving with the smoothly refined vocals of Rich Reif. Again, Time Horizon highlights its abundant musicianship throughout an extensive instrumental jam.
“Love Is Here” approaches eight minutes. What stands out about the song is the earthy vocal presence of Jake Livgren (cousin to Kerry Livgren), who complements a piece with a flattering Kansas like flair from its use of piano and violin to allow for some dramatic ballad like flavorings. Impetus picks up for the atmospheric instrumental moments in which David Wallimann’s soloing deftly stands out.
The nine minute “Prisoner” represents albums lengthiest. The song proves swarthy and moody manifest, with plenty of Hammond B3 aligning with front to back acoustic lacings and distant keyboards to make an ethereal statement. Emotional lead guitar and organ contest instrumentally. In the end, this one separates itself as a lengthy progressive rock piece that does not come across trite or overdone in the process.
Time Horizon also proves adept at recording a number in a more traditional four to five minute range. Consider “The Moment Is Here”, playing up the groups inherit AOR flavorings in a relaxed and easy going environs in which swirling keyboards and acoustic guitar play distinguishing roles. Lush vocal melodies lend to the delicate scene at hand. Likewise, “River Of Sorrows” is on the mellower side. The song reveals a darker slant to Time Horizon, revealed in the wistful guitars, bluesy underpinnings and portent overtures that pensively carry its length.
“You’re All I Need”, in contrast, is a rousing heavy-duty rocker. The song lends an up-tempo form, underpinning a more focused guitar emphasis and technical drum fortitude while occasionally lightening for layers of glistening vocal melodies. Fittingly, the refrain hits hard with its curtly done and too the point feel.
Time Horizon takes further opportunity to highlight its musicianship on the albums three instrumental. “Only Through Faith”, the shortest at three minutes, slowly flows to celestial keyboards in giving rise to an angelic if not otherworldly effect. “Water Girl” maintains the composed flavorings from artfully fusing acoustic guitar, lofty keyboards, piano and soaring feedback. Lead guitar lends a bluesy essence.
“About Time” gives rise to an inspiring and uplifting feel, taking a heavier rocking tone with clear-cut guitars and intricate licks and chops in abundance. A jam based feel comes to the forefront with Wallimann taking opportunity to adorn the bristling scene with his searing soloing abilities. I wish the album featured a few more high-energy cuts along this line.
Lyrically, Time Horizon speaks of a Christian worldview. “Only One” stands out in this regard:
Eternal Star of Heaven
The sun and moon they need not shine
He’s full of light and splendor
He’s changing lives forever
Transformation into new
Abundant life for you
The Spirit rise in you
Amend your life into
And love and joy and peace
It’s all plain to see
As does “The Moment Is Here”:
Salvation is here for you
You can travel beyond the horizon
Discover the dreams you wish to find
The moment is here for you
All the odds are in your favor
As you travel, your faith will guide you
Heaven is your destination
Have no fear, the moment is here
“River Of Sorrows” is a song of hope:
There is a hope beyond all you see
Praise to be found that can set you free
Help is around, hope can be found
Hope is what you need
The sorrows you live through
Don’t need to be so
For the river of sorrows can lead to a way
There’s a hope you can live for
Where there’s so much more
“Love Is Here” portrays God’s love:
His love, it will be with you
Always present you will find His love
It will never fail through your struggles
Through your pain
And He’s waiting now for you to call His name
Hope will find you
Though you’re blind you can see the way
You’ll see the way
Packaging stands out with its professionalism in terms of eye catching cover art and mini booklet with band photos and lyrics/liner notes in an easy to read font. In similar fashion, production shines from the efforts of Billy Sherwood (mixing) and Maor Appelbaum (mastering).
On Transitions, Time Horizon provides a different take on the progressive genre with its underscoring of AOR and melodic rock qualities. Time Horizon lends further credibility from how it also reinforces the progressive but not to a fault, noting how the group keeps track times below ten minutes while also including several numbers taking a traditional verse-chorus-verse stance. Performance, at the same time, is up to standard with the numerous vocalists and musicians bringing complementary ability. Those into progressive music in all its forms would be well served by checking out Time Horizon and its sophomore album Transitions.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Only One” (7:00), “Only Through Faith” (3:10), “Only Today” (7:00), “Prisoner” (9:00), “The Moment Is Here” (4:43), “About Time” (5:25), “You’re All I Need” (5:45), “River Of Sorrows” (4:30), “Water Girl” (4:30), “Love Is Here” (7:45)
Dave Miller - Guitars
Allen White - Bass
Ralph Otteson - Keyboards & Vocals
Bruce Gaetke - Drums & Vocals
Rich Reif - Vocals
Jake Livgren - Vocals
Jeff Garner - Guitars
David Wallimann - Guitars
Billy Sherwood - Guitars
Tony Kaye - Organ
Dan Eidem – Drums
Lang Bliss - Drums
Michael Mullin - Violin