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Draugnim have been around in one form or another for more than a decade, but having seen none of their rare live appearances and not being familiar with the band´s only previous album, Northwind´s Ire (2008), I had no idea what to expect from their latest release. To my delight, it turned out to be right up my alley. "The Last Of Kin" makes for a powerful start, and its promise of atmospheric soundscapes and dramatic melodies is fulfilled throughout the remainder of the album. The spirit of Bathory makes its presence felt in many ways and places, and tastefully so. Another obvious influence is Moonsorrow, who most strongly come to mind during the beginning of "One Of Lost". In fact, Draugnim have collaborated with the Sorvali cousins on more than one occasion - including this new album, which was produced by none other than Ville.
On the whole, Horizons Low is a solid and quite impressive album with only a few shortcomings. These include a certain repetitiveness on the one hand and on the other, ironically, the slightly overpronounced contrast that seems to be inserted by force in a couple of places. In particular, I am referring to the intro of "Cursed the One", which disrupts rather than accentuates the flow. In comparison, the acoustic outro of "Fear and Fey" works considerably better and fittingly concludes the song´s arc of suspense.
The one element that would profit the most from some added variety is the vocals, which offer no dynamics whatsoever. While this is forgivable in the songs that are otherwise diversified, it makes a more drab tune like the gloomy "Weeper´s Way" downright boring. Fortunately, this song is saved by its beautiful guitar solo and ultimately redeemed by the following "Bastion", a ten-minute epic that rounds off the well-crafted album in a downright majestic style.
01. The Last Of Kin
02. Fear And Fey
03. One Of Lost
04. Shunned Wanderer
05. Cursed The One
06. The Weeper´s Way