There is an eerie atmosphere conjured from the outset of Albdruck, the new EP from Germany’s prog instrumentalists Second Horizon. Exploring themes of nightmarish scenarios and the emotions that form part of the concept – paranoia, fear, anxiety – Albdruck opens the listener up to a mini epic of impressive instrumental talent and, in it’s entirety, an intriguing cyclical narrative. However, these are tracks that can be listened to individually, enticing you to explore what the rest of the EP can offer and taking you through a dark, aural journey in the process. Complex riffs abound – only adding to the depth of sound Second Horizon have crafted – and their effort can only be commended with their metal style perfectly fitting into the pocket of emotion this EP evokes.
“Zucht” enters you into the fray gently, with undertones of darkness, mystery and metaphysical visions while “Repressions” ducks and dives between low-key, ominously cautious areas and dangerous, volatile territory. Don’t mistake this for aggression however, as Second Horizon employ a meticulously crafted art; an art which could be refined mind you – perhaps polished even – although their raw sound lends an edge of flare to this most abstract track.
Influences that immediately come to mind are Black Sabbath, Black Label Society and prog metal’s finest, Dream Theater. Their styles can be distinctly heard in “Marter”, “Panoptikon” and “Denunziation”, each of which exhibit their own identity as a track while still paying homage to those legendary acts already mentioned. Overall, it’s refreshing to hear what is essentially a concept album with no vocals or lyrics, just a pure, unadulterated metal sound. While Albdruck may not blow you away and doesn’t really ‘rock your socks off’, it does make it’s own sound, it does give you goosebumps and it’s an EP that you can play and enjoy on a continuous loop without once sounding disjointed.
At its core, Albdruck is a piece of metal sound-art….and it’s different. Different is always good. 6/10