Originally posted on Instagram on November 21, 2021
Mini album review & recommendation: ‘HORIZONS’ by STARSET
With all the craziness of life it’s been awhile since I wrote one of these so I figured it was about time. I wanted to do one on an album that I’ve been truly enjoying lately.
@necro_reviews_666, forgive me for pretty much stealing your whole layout. Lol
Genre: Hard/Electronic Rock
Label: Fearless Records
Release date: October 22, 2021
Runtime: 71 minutes
Number of tracks: 16
You know what a concept album is, right? Now imagine a “concept band” where every album is part of a much larger project. That’s Starset.
Songwriter Dustin Bates founded Starset and The Starset Society (TSS) in 2013, creating a fictitious universe where humanity receives a mysterious message from space warning of earth’s demise. All of the band’s music, videos, and books are set in this universe.
I discovered Starset about 18 months ago and they quickly became one of my favorite rock bands. Every album of theirs has several memorable tracks and ‘HORIZONS’ is no different.
Released on 22 Oct 2021, ‘HORIZONS’ is Starset’s 4th full-length album. Self-described as a “cinematic rock” band, Starset has made its sonic imprint with huge electronic and symphonic elements, memorable hooks, and sci-fi inspired lyrics.
‘HORIZONS’ transports the listener to a future that is both divine and hostile. The epic electronics and orchestrations in ‘HORIZONS’ are even grander than in past albums, adding a distinct emotional edge that few other bands ever reach. Bates’ vocal performance is at its peak, with strong melodies and a few pained screams. The record features drummer Isaiah Perez (Phinehas, Love & Death) on the majority of the album as well as legendary studio drummer Lester Estelle (Pillar) on a couple tracks as well. Jasen Rauch (Breaking Benjamin, RED, Love & Death) recorded the djent-influenced guitar work, adding the muscle to an already solid frame.
The album’s lyrics contain incredible hooks and clever metaphors, but their true genius lies in their duality. The words advance the story/concept of TSS, yet can stand alone and deliver their own message without any knowledge of TSS. Bates often uses imagery of a dystopian future to criticize modern society and politics, such as in “Devolution” and “Infected”. Other songs feel more personal. “Otherworldly” and “Earthrise” sing of a timeless love that transcends the darkness of the dystopia.
Starset has once again crafted an outstanding album. Front to back, the whole project is polished, lacking none of Starset’s brilliance and power. This may be their best work to date.