Fireworks

Heavatar - 'Opus 1: All My Kingdoms' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/59/17/84/heavatar-opus-1-all-my-kingdoms-58-1381170663.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 07, 2013    
 
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Be prepared for a bumpier ride than you might hope for.

We've all seen those role reversal movies where the main character mystifyingly becomes intertwined in some switcheroo universe where they live the life of someone else, while still being themselves. Well in the case of Van Canto mainman Stefan Schmidt, it has become a reality as the man famous for classicalising Metal anthems, has spun the idea 180 degrees with Heavatar (heavy-avatar – whatever the origin it is still a rubbish name) a band dedicated to breathing metallic life into music inspired and in places directly lifted from some of the great classical composers. In fact a quick swatch of the cover will reveal that Beethoven, Bach, Paganini and Bizet are actually credited as though they popped by the studio with their latest ideas to add them to this, Heavatar's debut. Now if that all sounds a little silly (truth be told it does), then be prepared to be proved right and wrong. My initial thoughts on this album which features Schmidt on vocals and guitar, Jörg Michael (Saxon) on drums, Sebastian Scharf handling lead axe and David Vogt bass, were really not that positive, with reasonably simple thumping beats and straight-up power metal riffs being embellished by bursts of well known classical pieces played in a metal manner. Familiarity has to be fair bred a far more favourable outlook, with the sheer enthusiasm and up and at 'em approach beginning to become irresistible the more you stick with it. Even then, though, it isn't all plain sailing, with Schmidt leading from the front through his gruff, early Hetfield-like vocals, adding a rougher edge than is comfortable in the more classically inspired moments, and even as you bang your head and punch the air, there's no denying the album is all a little samey.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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That said the gang vocals courtesy of the Blind Guardian choir on 'Long Way Home', remind in a good way of the wrongly maligned 'The Elder' by Kiss, while 'The Look Above' strikes the perfect balance between early thrash (you can almost sing the chorus to 'Battery' by Metallica over it), bombastic power and sumptuous symph. However, then following that up with the truly woeful 'To The Metal', where clunky guitar and stilted vocals leave a bad taste at the album's conclusion is criminal. Not even references to the likes of Metallica and Manowar being cleverly highlighted by wonderful, grin inducing impressions of Hetfield and Joey DeMaio, are able to save it.

If you are a devotee of Van Canto there may be much in this reversal of attacks to keep you occupied, but be prepared for a bumpier ride than you might hope for.

Steven Reid

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