A side-project is not a concept that rings kindly in the ears of most Metalheads, as the results of such endeavours are more than often half-assed and forgettable, neglecting the elements that made the involved people's original projects good in the first place. I could spend several paragraphs listing examples of such outright failures, so the fact that SEVENTH VOID is made up of Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly from TYPE O NEGATIVE along with two other chaps is not necessarily a seal of quality. But let's not go overboard with my personal dissatisfaction with side-projects as a phenomenon, any album needs to stand on its own legs, regardless of the members involved.
The only thing that seems to have been carried over from TYPE O NEGATIVE into "Heaven Is Gone" is a decidedly Doomy vibe. The music of SEVENTH VOID strays far into Stoner Rock territory, with the odd touch of Post-Grunge and Sleaze-Rock. The result is amazingly radio-friendly and catchy, with one sweaty, sexy song after another of pure hard-rocking pleasure. There is a strong taste of early ALICE IN CHAINS going on, with the odd Tom Morello-style riff thrown in, and Kenny Hickey shows that he's able to pull off more than the odd backing vocals.
The song-material on "Heaven Is Gone" is nothing short of excellent, and one could easily imagine almost every song here getting airplay and an accompanying music video. In particular, the songs "Shadow On Me" and "Last Walk In The Light" is the stuff megahits are made of, yet the material is diverse enough to warrant more than a few spins. This will probably throw off the hardcore doom fans, but in this case the potential for mainstream sucsess trumps the cult-appeal. In spite of being quite a dark album, "Heaven Is Gone" would fit just as well as background music for a cage-dancer as in a macabre horror film, and this broad appeal works as a charm.
If you're gonna have a soundtrack to driving around during hot summer nights in 2009, you might just as well make it SEVENTH VOID. Even if it means putting TYPE O NEGATIVE to rest for a while, I would love to hear more from this band in the not so distant future. Take off your kvlt-face for a while, listen to "Heaven Is Gone", and have a groovy time!
(Online June 23, 2009)