Heavenblast - Heavenblast
Underground Symphony
Melodic / Progressive Power Metal
10 songs (52'16)
Release year: 2003
Heavenblast, Underground Symphony
Reviewed by Marty
This Italian band, originally formed in 1995, started off playing soft rock but with the addition of some energetic new musicians, evolved into more of a Power Metal band. They gathered a strong following playing a brand of Melodic Power Metal with some progressive touches and have created a very characteristic sound. Crown Of Light was released in 1998 with modest success after which, the band added a keyboard player creating an even more progressive sound. Another demo was recorded in 2000 and attracted the Underground Symphony label. This album being reviewed here is their self-titled full-length debut album. Many line-up changes have plagued this band (mainly with bass players) but the current line-up is; Marco LaCorte, vocals, Alessandro Saponaro, guitar, Donatello Meana, guitar, Diego Chiacchierini, drums, Francesco DiGiandomenico, keyboards and Lorenzo Colucci, bass.

Tha album begins with what initially sounds like a typical epic opening heard on many Power Metal albums but this one has a great majestic sound which combines march-like beats, kettle drum sounds and nice guitar melodies to create a great dramatic feel. The rest of the album can be described as one that covers a lot of ground, blending Helloween, Edguy speedy and melodic styles with a more progressive Labyrinth aspect. The Power Metal style combines some great riffs and leads with keyboard sounds that result in a very 'warm" and rich Sonata Arctica like sound. The band mixes in lots of moodier progressive elements in their songs with many of them coming in the form of extended instrumentals. This aspect of the band is really their shining moment. Some tracks seems rather typical but a few feature dramatic and interesting tempo changes which create a very dramatic feel. This aspect is similar to what Iron Maiden does on some of their more epic tracks. Instrumental interludes mid-song based around very thematic riffs add to the "celebration" of the song. Heavenblast has mastered that aspect of their music very well.

The lead vocalist has a voice that brings Tobias Sammet (Edguy) to mind and many tracks feature great soaring choruses. I found his voice to be a little strained in a few instances and some of the choruses could be a bit stronger. The drumming on this album is simply fantastic. This is how a drummers should sound for this type of band. His flawless execution of a speedy double bass style is a treat in itself. He hits all the right accents with cymbal crashes and splashes and his hard driving style really propels this band's sound. The lead guitar playing, although technically excellent and very expressive, falls a bit short as far as it's production. There's great use of root notes and some great melodic scale runs but the sound has a "distant" quality to it and all of the leads basically have the same sound. It sounds like they were all recorded through an older Roland space echo unit and they lack energy and attack. This is solely a production fault as upon close listens, the talent and skill of these players really shines through the production limitations.

I like what I hear from this band despite some serious production problems. With improvements in that area along with polishing up the vocal delivery and overall songwriting process, this could be a really great band. The talent of the players, especially the guitar players and the drummer is a real treat for the ears. What initially, on the surface, seems like just another Melodic Power Metal band, Heavenblast manages to be just a bit above average compared to many of the other newcomers with their greater attention to instrumental passages. The band is going back into the studio this fall to record the follow-up to this one and let's hope that they continue to evolve, improve and properly define their unique musical style.

Killing Songs :
Inside The Universe, Ready To Fly, Tomorrow King and Heavenblast
Marty quoted 70 / 100
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