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Heaven's Fire - 'Judgement Day' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/1c/33/58/heavens-fire-judgement-day-81-1388707251.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 02, 2014    
 
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Heaven's Fire deserve their much-delayed chance in the spotlight.

It's not been an easy ride for Toronto's Heaven's Fire. Formed as a trio back in the late nineties, their debut album surfaced in 2000 on the Now & Then label with a mix of progressive and underground eighties-style hard rock. However, tragedy struck when on the day of the album's release drummer Mike MacKinnon sadly passed away, and the planned tour to promote the album was cancelled. After a six month break the band began rehearsing again with a local drummer with a view to undertaking another tour, but then guitarist JT Harris was diagnosed with cancer and only given months to live. He ended up beating the cancer, but then his father became seriously ill, and JT decided to walk away from music completely to look after him.

In 2011, after a couple of years occasionally writing and performing, JT decided it was time to resurrect the band. Bassist (and the band's original vocalist) Andy Narsingh came back on board, and they found young drum prodigy Alexis Von Kraven. This time they decided to recruit a vocalist to front the band, and after an extensive search they ended up with...a drummer! But not just any drummer, in fact former Harem Scarem drummer Darren Smith (now back with the band and vocalist on the excellent 'Sentimental Blvd.' from the 'Mood Swings' album), of course a singer in his own right with Warmachine and Jake E. Lee's Red Dragon Cartel.

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The overall sound of the album is rather difficult to categorize due to the mix of styles. The progressive leanings of the debut have been mostly smoothed away, but without sacrificing the stunning instrumentalism, for a sound that encapsulates the old-school U.S Arena Rock style, with the occasional foray into modern Metal territory. The guitar histrionics of JT Harris are clearly at the forefront of the Heaven's Fire dynamic, wonderfully demonstrated by the two instrumental tracks '187' and 'Awakened', but the icing on the cake is Darren Smith's powerful and confident vocal delivery, which pushes an already excellent collection of songs to even greater heights. 'Screamin'' and 'All For One' open the album in fine metallic style with JT blazing all over the place, and the former adds sweeping string textures that gives the track a Power Metal feel. 'Just For Tonight' is a mid-tempo ballad with a dark edge, while the albums other ballad 'Lost' has a more subtle approach. 'The Best I Can', 'Big Stage' and 'Daydream Believer' are MHR anthems with big choruses, while 'Free Your Love' even adds a touch of funk to proceedings.

Heaven's Fire deserve their much-delayed chance in the spotlight, and another album is already underway.

Ant Heeks

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