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HeKz - 'Invicta' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/73/77/0a/HeKz-Invicta-76-1536261686.jpg

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 06, 2018    
 
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'Invicta' should be an essential acquisition for Progressive Rock/Metal fans worldwide.

HeKz, the highly talented five-piece band from Bedford, UK, have combined to produce a concept album that will have Prog fans salivating, and should see them promoted to The Premier League of Progressive Rock/Metal. Comprising of vocalist Matt Young, guitarists Al Beveridge and Tom Smith, keyboard player James Messenger and drummer Kirk Brandham, they have consulted the A-to-Z of Prog (the unabridged version) with 'Invicta' (Latin meaning unconquered/undefeated/invincible), and in doing so covered every gamut of the genre. The concept is not over-complicated, but represents issues such as betrayal, loss, reconciliation and hope, all seemingly based around the band's real life experiences.

The album commences with 'Quetzlcoatl' (feathered serpent), and has the listener engrossed from the beginning. It sets the scene and warns of the events ahead. Surprisingly, there is no long instrumental introduction, although there are plenty of lengthy instrumental passages throughout. Young exhibits the more melodic side of his vocals during the optimistic 'For Our Lives', then switches to an operatic Metal style for 'The Light Fantastic' and 'To The Lions', both exhibiting an early Queensr├┐che vibe.

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'Ultimatum' begins with some beautiful piano and describes the realisation that the situation cannot continue, and even though it is painful, things must change. The high-point of the album comes midway with the brilliant 'Line In The Sand', which in particular highlights Messenger's mesmerising keyboards. 'Trecena' and 'Pariah' are more straightforward, if there is such a thing in Progressive Metal!

Of course, no true respecting Prog album is complete without an epic track, and 'The Devil's Coin' reflects on what had occurred and lessons learned, and clocks in at over sixteen minutes, incorporating influences from two giants of the genre: Pink Floyd and Dream Theater. Despite its length, the song never comes across as self-indulgent but just a continuation of the tapestry of the story. What is impressive about this album is how effortlessly all the songs switch between heavy and light passages. The album concludes in a Broadway/West End style with the somewhat paradoxical and melancholic 'Victorious', which to my ears is the only dip in quality throughout an otherwise, fantastic album.

'Invicta' should be an essential acquisition for Progressive Rock/Metal fans worldwide.

Mark Donnelly

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