Released: 2000, Noise Records
If you've heard the preview track "Time Machine" for Heavenly that we have in our MP3 archive, you're no doubt thinking this band is Iron Savior. Well all the tracks on the CD are not like that one, but all tracks on the CD do point to an influence from bands like Iron Savior, Gamma Ray and of course Helloween. While offering nothing new to the power metal genre, Heavenly are without a doubt skilled musicians and have written a fine album that many fans will be into. Not only is the band influenced by the aforementioned bands but the CD was produced, recorded and mixed by Piet Sielck (Blind Guardian, Iron Savior). Kai Hansen also handles some backing vocals for the band thus making me wonder exactly how much of a hand they had into the shaping of this band's sound.
Since this is a new band I figured some brief background info would be in order. Believe it or not, this band is from Paris, France. I'm hard pressed to think of many metal bands form France (ed. note: OK Nathan I know you're screaming our Loudblast by now haha) so Heavenly may be in a class all their own in France. How Heavenly got their deal with Noise Records is also very interesting. The band actually won a competition on the Noise website called "Be Your Own Labelboss." The label put up a number of tracks from different unknown bands and let fans pick what one to sign! Way cool or what!! Apparently, Heavenly came out miles ahead of the others.
The music that this band produces is easy to describe - lots of double kicks, great lead guitar, soaring vocals and those sing along chanting / power metal choir-like backing vocals. One thing of note is the song length - most all tracks come in at the 6-7 minute mark which is slightly longer than normal for most power metal bands. However, there are not many places where I'm thinking anything is dragged out! My favorite tracks on this CD include the Gamma Ray-ish "Riding Through Hell" and the Iron Savior sounding "Time Machine" which has some really nice drumming and leads! Probably the reason why I love this song is because Kai (GOD) Hansen helps out on vocals. Like I've said before, and I'll say it again, everything Kai touches turns to gold. The CD is almost worth checking out for this track alone, especially for fans of Gamma Ray and Iron Savior. There only a few places where the songs seem to drift. For example, "Number One" has it moments but seems to go on a bit too long. In places like in the song "Our Only Chance" the vocals sound a bit thin. People have been comparing these vocals to Michael Kiske's work on the Helloween Keeper albums. Well it's not quite that good. Don't get me wrong, this guy is pretty awesome, but he lacks the Dickinson-like throaty-ness and power that Kiske had (has?).
It's no surprise that fans of Gamma Ray, Iron Savior and Helloween will find something they like in Heavenly. Even though this CD offers little in the way of anything new it marks an excellent beginning and the perceived "hand holding" of Piet and Kai has opened doors for this band. It remains to be seen if the band can continue on on their own and become a force as impressive as their mentors. More information on this band can be found on the Noise webpage at http://www.noiserecords.com/ourbands/metal/heavenly/coming/cd.asp