UK melodic post-hardcore unit Road To Horizon is a band on the march if the evidence of their Chapters EP is a portent of things to come for the West Yorkshire quintet. Though a release probably still seeking definition in its own identity, the six track release is a highly accomplished and satisfying encounter from an equally impressive promising band.
Road To Horizon formed in 2008 or 09, depending on which bio you read, and has run the course of obstacles which confront most bands to emerge stronger and determined with the sound to back it up. Having toured with the likes of Rise To Remain, Funeral For A Friend, Attack! Attack, and Hildamay the band has built up a loyal and growing following certainly helped by their appearance on an episode of BBC 3 show Don’t Tell The Bride. As Chapters shows the band has an intensity and creative invention which fuels a keen anticipation for their future as well as a strong appetite for their sounds right now.
The release opens with Through Ashes, a piano introduced powerhouse of a track which immediate goes from mild seduction into a fury of muscular passionate embraces. The melodic flames which burn from within its energetic might forged by the guitars of Danny Kingsbury and Benji Wilson instantly grip with impressive persuasion whilst the vocals of Ben Flockton and his subsequent union with those of Kingsbury and bassist Oli Parkinson well into the track, show a strength and thoughtful delivery that is as potent as the emotive intensity brewed by the music. It is a striking and immense start framed by the uncompromising yet respectful rhythms of Parkinson and drummer Simon Gordon, a track which takes mere moments to show why there is a fuss over the band brewing.
The following Caught Red Handed also makes a gentle entrance before stretching its sonic sinews and rhythmic strength into a formidable proposition. Its gait though is reserved for the main, even with the provocative beats and squalling scowling vocals bringing up the rear to the emotive lead of Flockton. The track lacks the contagion and startling presence of its predecessor but nevertheless instils a definite sense of something brewing within the imagination of the band which will emerge to greater heights, especially through its rich and firm melodic caress.
In Your Bed gets the EP back onto a higher plateau, the slightly abrasive opening riffs stirring up the senses as the sonic and melodic elements step forward to take their expressive place. The song does not offer anything particularly new but mercilessly ignites a hunger for the infectious grinding groove of the track and the intimidating metallic prowl of the bass. The song switches from intense emotion led vocals and equally embracing sounds to a predatory and inciting stance throughout, the band adept in both and their seamless union with Parkinson and his four string raptor having their finest moment on the release. The band is tagged as melodic post-hardcore as mentioned but this is rock music with an intimidating and caring presence which sets bands apart.
Both Open Your Eyes and This Is The End leave a deep impression, the first driven by a thumping heartbeat of a gait and anthemic vocal lures, the soaring clean delivery of Flockton a vivid and full temptation shadowed by the great growling brawling alongside him. It is another exceptional track on Chapters and a further example why it is impossible not to be excited by the band. The second of the pair fails to spark the same ardour found elsewhere though there is not much wrong with the song except a lack of an identity it can call its own. Musically the track is rife with craft and its skilful interpretation just not a fire starter.
The EP closes on a real and great surprise with a cover of the Rita Ora track R.I.P. Releasing a mental groan upon approaching Chapters as maybe many will before hearing it, doubt is soon dismissed by a rousing and thrilling beast of a song, the metallic makeover turning the track into a deliciously infectious and ear riling treat. It is impossible not to be joining in the chorus and raising an emotive fist to this new instinctive version. It is an added extra gem well worth its potent place.
Though at times Chapters finds a lack of originality, for the main it is an invigorating and inventive encounter which suggests the wholly unique voice of the band is not that far away. Road To Horizon should be watched very closely.
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