Review: First SCARVE and now HEAVENLY, could this be the discovery of French Metal by the all-French ignoramus? I think it just might be that. I haven’t really used many of my Metal hours with HEAVENLY, I thought they were the usual run-of-the-mill GAMMA RAY/HELLOWEEN/STRATOVARIUS Power Metal stereotypes that seem to roam freely nowadays. Since this is my first encounter with the band, I cannot make any comparisons to previous albums, just felt I had to mention it.
Inspirations from these bands are detected from the first song “Evil” to the very last notes of “...Dust To Dust”; in other words we’re talking rallying Power Metal with tons of Progressive moves. Another obvious influence and this concerns the divine solos shining on every song, is SYMPHONY X; same technical prowess and shameless shredding, quite surprising to learn how skill-full the two guitarists are.
Enough finger pointing. Band associations aside, “Dust To Dust” takes time to get into as with most Power Metal albums guilty of overdoing the Prog Metal parts. A concept dealing with vampirism may surprise most Power Metal addicts since we’re used to hear about fairytales, dragons, swords, crowns, kings, freedom and the likes. I’m not sure if this nocturnal story fits 100% with the music. It sounds kinda off track in some places when they’re singing about this guy who’s damned to be a vampire telling he’s, to quote a line from the chorus in “Lust For Life”, “Feared by everyone, I am proud as strong as Metal” and play this happy (maybe too happy at times) Power Metal. Then again there are Christian Black Metal bands preaching about the almighty through dark symphonies he he.
The band does not linger on one passage too long, which means there’s much to hear in a single song. Each song has heaps of brilliant arrangements, small solos, long solos, Power Metal choirs, symphonic keys and double bass drumming, somehow reminiscent of BLIND GUARDIAN’s last work. Ben Sotto is a good singer, sounds like a mix between Tobias Sammet and Andre Matos of ANGRA. He can go very high with his high-pitched Kiske like screams and does everything to bring various vocal tones to reflect the feelings of the eternally damned vampire, but there’s still some miles to go if he wants to join in with the elite.
Indeed “Dust To Dust” reeks of superior musicianship and mature song writing, it’s good to hear that some gems in the Power Metal genre stay old fashioned while of course maintaining a steady progression instead of being invaded by modern technology. I like this album and I’m sure you will too if Progressive Power Metal is your thing... give me an F...R...A...N...C...E and what does that spell? FRANCE, go France!!!!! (Online February 12, 2004)