PLATENS – Between Two Horizons

PLATENS - Between Two Horizons


Frontiers Records
Release date: December 6, 2004

Guitars: B+
Bass: B
Percussion: C+
Keyboards: B+
Vocals: B
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: B-
Overall Rating: B-

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Platens is the project by Italy’s Dario Grillo, a 25-year-old classically trained musician, formerly of the band Thy Majestie. Grillo wrote, produced, and played all of the instruments (except the drums) for this debut Platens album, Between Two Horizons, a Melodic Rock release with an occasional cutting edge, comprised of 11 tracks totaling roughly 54 minutes.


Grillo first should be commended for delivering excellent production quality for this debut Platens album. The guitars and keyboards, especially, completely jump out at you and grab your attention. Hand-in-hand with the production quality is Grillo’s performance on both the guitar and keys. Grillo adopts a punchy guitar playing style in the fast-paced songs (about half of the album), and renders some really impressive and creative solos … he’s one of those guitarists that doesn’t solely rely on fret board speed, opting instead to toy with a few special effects and leans towards crafting creative moods with his play. The keyboards are used similarly … the keys are not filler material, but they’re also not dominating. At times, the style of playing is similar to what used to be heard by Dennis DeYoung from Styx, and at others Grillo’s style is much more atmospheric. Overall, there’s plenty here to warrant headphones listening, for sure.

Grillo is at his best during up tempo songs like “Here I Am,” “Into The Fire,” and “Check It Out,” and when the focus is on the music rather than the lyrics, like in the mysterious title track, “Between Two Horizons,” where Grillo does an excellent job of creating an ambiance of uncertainty and transformation via the music, and in “Your Heart Will Claim His Truth,” where Grillo includes a really cool “backwoods” guitar style intro, followed by excellent guitar and keyboards solos. Generally, the up tempo songs, especially, tend to get to the point more quickly, and have definitive progression towards a conclusion … in other words, they are good songs with a fresh, somewhat heavy (but not aggressive) edge, that are well-written and self-encapsulated.


“Waves of Sea” is a very successful slow tempo song, but by and large, the others (roughly half of the album) tend to run out of steam simply because they are too long. Unlike the up tempo songs, Grillo seems to want to pack too much into each of these tracks, both lyrically and musically, and the result is their points tend to get blurred, if not lost at times. None of them are awful by any standard, however, most of them, including “My Reason” and “The Last Kiss,” just kind of get a little boring before they finally close out.

Grillo is a talented vocalist, but has the tendency to go a little over the top with his verbalized emotion. The music is very clean and crisp, and it simply doesn’t pair up hand-in-glove with heavy vocal emotion. Grillo did a great job in the music creativity department … it would have been a better option in Between Two Horizons to tone down the vocals a bit both in emphasis and in frequency to simply allow the listener to focus more on his quality musicianship.


In many aspects, this debut Platens album is on the cutting edge of Melodic Rock. Music-wise, it’s hard to find anything in the genre better or more creative. Grillo, though generally a young pup, shows that his music training was clearly worth the money and effort, and delivers a feel and style that sounds much more advanced than his age would indicate. The up tempo approach is particularly successful for Grillo … and overall this is a solid album that would have benefited from more succinct direction within the slow tempo songs and a more subdued vocal approach. If anything, this album shows great potential for Platens, and will leave you excited about what Grillo may produce in the future as he continues to grow musically!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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