Starset - Horizons
Release Date: October 22, 2021 Genre: Hard Rock, Alternative Metal Label: Fearless Records Starset, the hard rock/metal band based out of Columbus, Ohio, will release their anticipated fourth studio record, Horizons, with Fearless Records. After a great release with their last record, DIVISIONS (2019), on streaming platforms, rock and metal fans were actually surprised Starset was already ready to drop their next record. They have been going a lot more mainstream over the years, and you can really notice that with this upcoming record. I would have to say there are some benefits and some drawbacks from this record compared to the previous ones. The album starts with an intense orchestra build-up for an intro of "UNVEILING THE ARCHITECTURE," which transitions right into "THE BREACH." "THE BREACH" has a solid, catchy chorus with electronics in it like previous records that you hear from Starset. It has a nice guitar breakdown with some cool experimental electronics and effects on lead singer Dustin's vocals compared to previous records. The production level did go up already. Up next is "OTHERWORLDLY." Dustin is for sure going in a different vocal direction -you can tell with this track compared to previous records. A lot more chill and relaxing, even more inviting, I would say. Again Starset is great for implementing electronics and violins in songs -and this song does justice for that. It is a long song, but how well they made the song, you really don't notice it that much.
"ICARUS" starts off heavier with the guitars and bass compared to other tracks so far on the record. Kind of like "DIVISIONS," but with more electronics. The chorus I didn't get behind all that well, but overall the track seems good. I loved the electronic robot transition that added to Dustin's vocals near the end of the song. Nice touch there. On "EARTHRISE," I loved the instruments. I loved the guitar riffs on this one a lot. I couldn't get behind the lyrics with this one. Dustin performed the song great, but I just couldn't catch a vibe for it. It really felt like the song is one of the "album filler" or "safe radio" rock songs you hear on records. Probably cause the chorus was repetitive. But the same thing with "LEAVING THIS WORLD BEHIND," another track I felt like a filler track, but instead, instrumentally, it's great. Some nice dirty hard riffs, a small mini-breakdown, what more can you ask for. Just another track, you can notice the repetitive lyrics with a repeating chorus. "DEVOLUTION" -this one felt long compared to "OTHERWORLDY." In this track, you go through an experience from the chill side of Starset to the full-blown hard screams from Dustin. The hard electronics in this song with its hard guitars -it was an experience, I would say. "ANNIHILATED LOVE" had an enjoyable chorus with electronics that were balanced great, and it has nice guitar riffs. It's a solid track. I don't have any complaints or issues from it at all. I just really enjoyed listening to it. But out of nowhere, we get to "ALCHEMY." I'm not a person who would typically skip a Starset song but just the repetitive chorus, and I guess how it was played out in the song structure, I just couldn't get behind "ALCHEMY." Don't get me wrong, Dustin has been doing music a lot longer than I have been alive, but this song just wasn't for me. Nonetheless, the track does have a solid instrumental. The album does pick up strong with "DISAPPEAR." I love the piano implemented within the song, along with the violin and the guitar drop. They planned this song out very well. It has a good catchy chorus with experimentation with Dustin's vocals like you hear on this entire record. "ENDLESS ENDEAVOR" is the first time I would say for a Starset song -it sounds like something you would hear on a lot of metal band's records. It feels like an average song, but it is long and repetitive. They did spice it up with that cool transition vocal effect that's been heard on previous records that I wish they implemented more of on the record. But it was nice to hear that again, and I won't be forgetting it anytime soon. Next, we have "SYMBIOTIC." When I first heard this song when listening to the record, in the beginning, I could already tell this was going to be a good song. Sure enough, it is as I'm still listening to the song while writing this review. It's catchy, and it pulls you in. It's Starset playing around with the new sound that they have for this album cycle. It's everything and then some. The guitars, violin, vocals, drums, and bass -everything is great. I was getting chills at the start of the song. I hope to possibly see this track live in person one day. "SYMBIOTIC" could be one the crowd could really get into, and I can't wait to see a performance of it live. "DREAMCATCHER" is an enjoyable track. Not anything too much to say about it. It's got a nice instrumental. I loved the strings with the violin, the background vocals, and Dustin's vocals on it. Kind of repetitive chorus, but that's pretty much nature at this point that you hear in the back half of this record. "TUNNELVISION" kind of gives almost the same vibe as "SYMBIOTIC," a good catchy track with diverse instrumentation. Catchy chorus, electronics, and a big orchestra background for the song. I know after the release of the album, I'm going to go back to "TUNNELVISION." When I first heard "INFECTED," I heard a direction I was happy Starset was going. I still am, and it's a perfect single for the radio. It sounds like it would fit more on the last record rather than Horizons after hearing the lyrics. Probably my favourite track on the album next to "SYMBIOTIC." The final song, "SOMETHING WICKED," closes out the record. It's something I was surprised to hear. The rest of the record went with this hard rock, electronic sound, but this track took a 180. The lyrics on "SOMETHING WICKED" are great -the lyrics kept with the theme that the record takes of mentioning faith and God. It's a perfect ending to the record. Starset wrote some catchy songs for Horizons. They went a more experimental route for this record, and I give credit for the band to go down this route after four records. I hope they don't go along with as much of the repetitiveness for the next record but still keep those catchy hooks and choruses. I'll be going back to a few songs on the album once it releases on October 22, but I can't wait to see them possibly perform some of these banger tracks at a live show one day.
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