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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Heavenly

Virus

Review by Greg Olma

Heavenly is a power metal outfit that has been around for some time. Virus is their 4th release and marks a bit of a change in their sound. The previous releases Sign Of The Winner and Dust To Dust focused on fast paced Helloween style playing but on Virus, the band slows down the tempo at times and slips into some really catchy grooves. For me, this is the real strong point on Virus. For many bands of this type, the groove and melody are lost to a need to be fast. Heavenly show some restraint by giving the tunes some space to breath. Sure, there is fast power metal on the CD but there is also a more mature sound that gives the listener some variety. I think the band touched on a winning formula here by satisfying the power metal fans along with the more mainstream metal audience. If you have never heard Heavenly, then this is a great place to start.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Dark Memories
In true power metal fashion, Heavenly open this CD with a fast paced metal tune that falls into the Helloween style. The vocals by Ben Sotto are really strong and fit the tune perfectly. I also like the fact that keyboards are added for coloring but do not take over the track.
Spill Blood on Fire
The keyboards are more pronounced on this one but still do not dominate the song. Overall it is a mid-paced rocker in the Euro metal tradition and has one of the catchiest choruses on the whole disc.
Virus
This track has some great riffing that reminds me a little bit of the new Masterplan. “Spill Blood On Fire” was more commercial and lighter but this one goes into the opposite direction. It is heavier on the verses but does have few lighter moments thrown in. Sotto puts in another strong performance here.
The Power & Glory
Of all the tracks on offer, this is my least favorite. It’s played well, but it falls into that power metal style where it so fast that it looses some of its melody. That being said, those of you who love Helloween, Hammerfall, etc. will love this cut.


Wasted Time
The intro is very Iron Maiden; even in the vocal delivery but that is over very quickly and the track settles into a cool groove that has a Hammerfall sound to it. This is one of the better tunes on the record.
Bravery in the Field
Don’t let the fast paced intro fool you; the rest of the track is more of a mid-paced rocker. The keyboards play a larger part in the sound of this one but the guitars definitely cut through at the right times.
Liberty
The intro reminds me of Europe (the band) and that is not necessarily a good thing. The rest of the cut is really good with a very catchy chorus. I would have snipped the intro and improved the tune.
When the Rain Begins to Fall
Naturally, rain and thunder sound effects usher this piece in. The keyboards have a 80’s dance music sound to them but the guitars (thankfully) keep it still on the rock side of things. The chorus is also a bit 80’s sounding but I applaud the guys for throwing in a curve ball. As I said before, Virus has variety and that keeps the listener interested.
The Prince of the World
The guitar work is what really stands out on this tune. The chorus sounds a little like Hammerfall but the verses have a cool groove to them. This certainly isn’t the strongest cut on the disc but it certainly isn’t the worst. My main objection is the chorus. It is very similar to the other ones on the record and that makes it seem one dimensional. The band does great on the verses but then falls into a rut on the chorus.
 
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