From the first sounds of 2k Awe Tick to the outro of The Inner Stream Remains I knew Heaven’s Cry Primal Power Addiction would not be an ordinary album. How many bands throw Latin samba rhythms in their songs? In fact, I can’t recall any except Atheist on Elements. My expectations proved true as Heaven’s Cry is not an ordinary band.
Currently on the Dutch label DVS Records, Heaven’s Cry hail from Quebec, Canada and this is their second full-length after 5 year hiatus. Unlike their contrymates Kataklysm and Cryptopsy, Heaven’s Cry play some of the most unusual brand of highly technical progressive metal. I wish I was more of the guitar playing expert to be able to describe the music, but I will try anyway.
It all starts with the lineup. There are three full-time guitar players in the band, Pierre St-Jean, Eric Jarrin and Olaf Quinzanos. As soon as one guitar starts playing a melody, another starts playing in counterpoint, and the third tries to go over the top of them. In the end, it is all one entangled, but very coherent and enjoyable combination. At times, it is so complex I can’t even say that they have a “riff structure”. The enormous amount of credit goes to Sylvain Auclair to hold it all together with his excellent noodling bass lines. He has to keep up, and he does, with the drummer Rene Lacharite who seems to be shifting rhythms more often than one shifts gears riding in heavy traffic. To add another wrinkle, it feels at times that drumming is being done in the whole rhythmic plane of its own.
Pierre St-Jean and Sylvain Auclair both double on vocals. I have no idea how they have time to sing with all the string acrobatics on display. Heaven’s Cry vocal harmonies are excellent as one of the vocalists picks one melody to tune his vocal lines to. I can’t say that I hear a distinct duet going on. It is rather a one dominant vocalist with the other one providing him a background support. While the main lines are entirely clean, the background at times may sound rougher and more forceful.
Keyboards, the instrument generally present in a prog metal band, are not listed. Some of the synth may be present, but in no way it is dominant or grabs center stage. The only exception is probably Waves which sports an overriding electronic effect. The cleanliness of production for this type of music is obligatory and is delivered masterfully.
Admittedly, I am not a huge progressive metal fan, so it was a challenge for me to entirely get into Primal Power Addiction. I have listened to it repeatedly for over a week and half before I started to put down any notes for this review. And take it from a non-fan, Heaven’s Cry is musicianship per excellence. While some of the guitar playing clearly goes over my head, I am able to follow almost every song’s thread. Repeated listens are absolutely encouraged and will be absolutely necessary for less prog oriented people like myself. Even with as many as I have had I still tend to like more straightforward songs like 2k Awe Tick, A Higher Moral Ground, Remembrance, The Inner Stream Remains and the bonus track Beds Are Burning. The special mention goes to A New Paradigm – my favorite track on the album hands down. One sweet little number with great singing!
I wanted to close by saying that while not embracing every single note of Primal Power Addiction I was able to discover why I liked the album as much as I did. With as many intense and angry albums as I normally listen to I found Heaven’s Cry music to be light-hearted and relaxing without being soft or wimpy. I give these Canadian musicians all kinds of credit for pulling this out.
Killing Songs :
A New Paradigm, 2k Awe Tick, A Higher Moral Ground, Remembrance, The Inner Stream Remains, Beds Are Burning
|Alex quoted 76 / 100|
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