Horizonte Lied – Memorias De Crónicas Futuras

 Horizonte Lied – Memorias De Crónicas Futuras

Horizonte Lied – Memorias De Crónicas Futuras – Album Review

It’s not too often that you’ll find me reviewing records that are twenty years old, unless it’s these guys.  Not only was Horizonte Lied’s Memorias De Crónicas Futuras released way back in 2003 originally, but you could make a healthy argument that at that point, the sound of the music was already more than twenty years old too…which really makes a record like this, even with its remixing & remastering & all that, pretty much seem like it dates back about forty years when it comes right down to it.  Like I had mentioned the last time I reviewed Horizonte Lied’s music back in October of last year, they’ve got that early Depeche Mode vibe that traces all the way back to 1980, the year I was born…their vibe is as old as I am – yikes!  But like I always tell ya…unless you’re convinced the entire world has heard your music, there’s never a bad time to put it out there.  I haven’t heard Memorias De Crónicas Futuras until now, so it’s all-new to me!  I’m gonna go ahead and assume that a lot of you are likely in the same boat – let’s push play and see what we’ve got here…

The last album from the band that came my way, Reciclaje, sure made me think about a whole lot of things surrounding the length of time between conception and release, and this new record is spinning the wheels of my brain once again.  Let’s be clear here – musically, Horizonte Lied crushes it, practically every single song…they’re exceptional musicians, and you can hear that instantly on “Destello Inmortal” as this album begins.  The songwriting is stellar too; even though everything is sung in Spanish, the whole vibe, attitude, and shifting moods of these songs comes across with crystal clarity, especially due to their updated production & whatnot.  What kind of blows my mind a bit if I’m being real with ya, is that they’re still somewhat taking risks with material that could potentially be more balanced at times – like I’ll tell ya right off the drop, “Destello Inmortal” is actually a bit on the uneven side, mainly when it comes to the vocals.  I understand the desire for preservation of the past, and I understand the wanting of updating a whole catalog too, at least to a degree – but if there’s nothing that can be done to fix any past issues, like you’ll hear in some flat tones of the vocals on this opening tune, I’m less clear on why you’d wanna keep including certain tracks over time.  For the vast majority of this record, the vocals come out great – it’s really this first track…the FIRST IMPRESSION we get of Horizonte Lied on this album…that our ears question some of these tones.  The rest of the song is completely killer, and I get that – but sometimes the past can be better served by being left behind.  I’d even tell ya that there’s a good 90% or more of this opening track that has GREAT quality vocals…but that obviously implies there’s still 10% that need a whole lotta work…and that’s when you start thinking about the fact that there has been twenty years in between its original release and this remastering to get that cleaned up.  So…I mean…I’m not quite sure what to say if I’m being honest with ya – I can completely get where they’re coming from with why they’d wanna keep “Destello Inmortal” given the quality of the main hooks in the chorus, but they’ve got some really flat spots in the verses that I’m sure they’d hear just like we all do.  They’ve had twenty years to eliminate all the risks…and I guess that’s what has me perplexed overall.

“Espectro De Vida” is probably a bit closer to the sound they’re going for than the opening track, though I’d probably tell ya that vocally there are still opportunities to have sharpened things up in the verses once again.  The differences between how things are sung is a main part of the reason why – you can hear them getting tripped up a little in how to approach the more monochromatic tones of their verses, whereas they completely shine when there’s more opportunity to actually sing in the main hooks of the chorus.  You singers out there know the different demands those two gears would take on how you breathe and ultimately how you sound – I’m not here to tell ya it’s easy, I’m just calling things like I hear them, and it’s the lower tones that seem to be more of an issue at the start of this record.  When it comes to the moments that really require that extra power & energy like you hear in the chorus of songs like “Destello Inmortal” or “Espectro De Vida,” Horizonte Lied clearly has all the chops, talent, and skill to pull it off – we know that, because in those moments, we hear it.  All that being said, “Espectro De Vida” is about half the song that “Destello Inmortal” was beforehand; I might have criticized some tones here & there from the vocals on that first song, but it’s a memorable tune.  “Espectro De Vida” is going to have to battle much harder to be remembered in that same way…the content isn’t quite there.  The music, as I’ve consistently said, is nothing short of amazing…the attention to detail that they bring to their production and to their instruments is what I’m looking for them to bring to their vocals as well.

“Sin Claridad” probably has the most even performance from the entire band across the board within the first three tracks, but I’d again tell ya that they’re somewhat struggling to find that memorable aspect of the material itself.  While I’d say there’s always a chance that’s simply my own North American perspective and how I’m personally hearing the song, I also listen to music from all over the world daily, and I’m as objective as I’ve always been.  I’d never dispute how well Horizonte Lied plays a song like “Sin Claridad” or the incredible sonic depth you’ll find in its production, but the strength of the material seems to be more in question on this record than the last one that I heard from the band.  That being said, there’s an astonishing level of identity in their music; I might not always remember the songs, but I’d definitely know who created them, know what I mean?  You’ll always know that you’re listening to a track by Horizonte Lied, and at the end of the day, they should be seriously proud of that.  I also really like how they’ve used the backing vocals to their advantage in the main hooks of the chorus on “Sin Claridad,” which is a moment in the song that’s arguably strong enough to make it more memorable than the rest, and definitely feels like the main defining aspect of what would bring us back to repeat it.

Performance-wise, I think they get another excellent display of their strengths from every angle from the music to the microphone on “Acertijos” – they’ve got their Post-Punk/Synthwave sound on-point, and longstanding fans of the genre will certainly appreciate how they play this song with such balance.  Does it have defining moments as memorable as what we heard in the opening track?  Nope.  I still feel like they’re searching for that, though the quality of the band overall has become undeniably tighter as this album has played on.  “Acertijos” is one of those tough mid-tempo tunes that I’d reckon most folks will have to be somewhat in the mood for, but it has some really cleverly thought-out moments in the music that I think listeners will dig on.  In particular, the more sparkly you find the synth sounds to be, chances are, you’ll feel like that’s gonna be the main hook in “Acertijos” and its catchiest parts.  And if that’s how you feel, believe me, I agree.  The depth and dynamics in the production of this song are nothing short of spectacular when it comes right down to it, but its ideas can seem a little on the thin side.  Chances are, that’s largely because of what I’d mentioned at the very start of this review – the album is already twenty years old, the sound is forty-plus years old, and at this point, we’ve likely all heard many similar tunes throughout music’s history, that it makes songs like this harder to stand out.

There we go!  It might have taken five tunes and halfway into the album, but “El Peligro De La Gente” is basically what I’ve been searching for on Memorias De Crónicas Futuras in terms of memorable sound.  This is the breakthrough we’ve been hoping to find, and this song goes on to significantly alter the direction this record was on in the most positive way.  They’ve got excellent ideas on display here, straight-up remarkable depth in their dynamics once again, one of the absolute best performances you’ll hear in their vocals of any song in their catalog and especially on this record, and it’s a fairly unique tune as well – you can’t ask for much more than that, am I right?  “El Peligro De La Gente” highlights how well this band plays together when they’re fully invested in the substance and know they’re onto something special…of the first five tracks on this album, there’s not a doubt in my mind that this cut would make the biggest impact on the people out there listening.  It’s got it all…from the swell of the low-end, to the brightness of the synth additions, to the perfect performance from the band all-around, “El Peligro De La Gente” is as tight as tight can be.

The low rumble of “Por Tu Ausencia” also made for a real highlight on this record as well, in my opinion.  I’ll fully admit, right from the very start of this nearly six-minute tune, it feels like “Por Tu Ausencia” has the most significant room to evolve and grow – and it’s actually quite surprising that the band seems to choose to go in the opposite direction instead, leaning right into the sameness within the sound of this song.  Normally, I’d probably not recommend that any band or artist would go this route, especially within a timeframe as long as this one is – but somehow, Horizonte Lied pulled this moment off with pure insightful brilliance and unbreakable commitment to the moment…and yes, I dig that.  For example – when we heard more questionable moments at the start of this record, it makes us feel like there’s a bit of a lack of confidence or preparation in the material on the listening end – but when you hear the unwavering commitment in a song like “Por Tu Ausencia,” you have to applaud it for the exact opposite reasons.  This is what it sounds like when the band knows what they wanna get out of every inch of a song, and it’s a true testament to how fascinating the vibe of Horizonte Lied can be at its absolute finest.  I also felt like this subtle track on the album set them up perfectly for one of the most dynamic to follow.

You see?  I swear, I’m nothing but fair.  I think there’s definitely something to be said for the strengths of the second half of Memorias De Crónicas Futuras.  I’d imagine that Horizonte Lied is likely being 100% faithful to the original layout and everything about their albums aside from the update production they’re giving to the material through the new remastering and whatnot – so my advice would likely be, don’t be too afraid to shake things up a bit.  Even though one of the record’s most memorable tracks is definitely “Destello Inmortal,” it still had a much riskier imbalance to it than many of these cuts from the latter-half of the album.  Maybe the most staunch fans of the band would potentially complain about them shuffling the order of the lineup, but for the rest of the world, these tracks are all new to them – so starting things out with the strongest material free of any questionable notes or tones, would likely be the right way to go about things and retain people to continue listening to the rest of the album – make sense?  Any time you’ve got your riskier material up front on a record, the risk is really that you might lose them permanently…but if you put your most bulletproof songs at the start, not only will the people stick with ya, they’ll likely accept a few peaks and valleys in the rest to follow.  That’s the way I see it anyhow.  I love the drum sounds & synths in “El Abismo” – and within about twenty seconds, you can feel how there’s a deep single-worthy type of vibe running through the veins of this song.  I might not personally feel as strongly about “El Abismo” as I do towards the two tracks before it, but credit where credit is due – they haven’t let themselves down one iota with the way they’ve played this song, and the booming low-end at the core of this tune has a noticeable groove to it that’ll pull people right in.  It’s an enormous sounding track when it comes right down to it, with plenty of allure surrounding how gigantic it seems.  You could turn this down as low as you want to, and chances are your neighbors way down the street will STILL know that you’re playing “El Abismo” – that’s the level of HUGE we’re talkin.’

“Voz De Fé” would probably be my main choice for a single off of this record if I’m being honest with ya.  “Destello Inmortal” has great ideas but still needs more polish on the vocals, “Por Tu Auscenia” is awesome but not really quite the kind of track you’d find as a single, and “El Peligro De La Gente” would have been my number one choice, were it not for “Voz De Fé” coming into play late in the lineup of this album.  There’s really not a thing about this track that I’d remotely change from the production to the performance – I feel like Horizonte Lied got every ounce out of “Voz De Fé,” and the powerful groove at the core of this song makes it a perfect candidate to be the single that brings everyone in to listen.  I’m not gonna beat a dead horse here, but again – imagine this as the first track you heard on the way into listening to this album…if “Voz De Fé” was the first impression you got, you’d stick around without any hesitation, whereas “Destello Inmortal” makes you wonder if you should, despite the quality of its sound and main hooks.  Don’t get me wrong…I understand that Horizonte Lied is in a strange position – there are really only so many things that you can correct with a simple remastering…it’s not like they’re all jumping back into the studio to re-do the songs from the ground up, you feel me?  They’ve given their music a much more potent punch through its production, and that pays off big-time with “Voz De Fé.”  This track was likely already perfect the way that it was originally, but it probably sounds that much better now with its updated production values…it’s a heckin’ killer tune, and wildly enticing to listen to.

As far as the cultural aspect of their Spanish vocals is concerned, you get a magnificent dose of that in the last track, “Iluminado.”  This finale would be right up there with my favorite performances from their lead singer, and as they’ve reliably done throughout the entire record, they’ve really given their music the extra punch it genuinely deserves.  I like how they’ve actually got the drums set in the distance of this song in comparison to the rest, and it feels like the vocals are moved even further to the front as well.  Sometimes the tiniest tweaks we make to our material can lead to monumental differences, which is essentially what the mission Horizonte Lied has been on is with them shining up their past catalog for the present day.  They go out on a noteworthy highlight here – “Iluminado” isn’t just another quality cut – it’s absolutely one of the record’s best & most memorable tunes.  Whether it’s the accessibility you’ll hear, or the way they’ve attacked this last cut on all fronts, the strengths of “Iluminado” can be heard by one & all…I’d be willing to bet that we’ll all feel the same way about how Horizonte Lied nailed this final track.  Like I was tellin’ ya – I think you’ll hear a very noticeable switch being thrown on this record right around the halfway mark with “El Peligro De La Gente” that sends this whole album down the path it was really meant to be on from the get-go.  Up to that point, I think it’s a little hit & miss perhaps, but there’s no doubt that they’ve raised the stakes continually in many ways from the moment that it all began, right through to delivering one of their most significant highlights at the end with “Iluminado.”

Find out more about Horizonte Lied from their official page at Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/horizontelied

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