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Released: 2016, Prosthetic Records
It strikes me as odd that this Canadian based site has not, to date, reviewed an album by one of Canada’s biggest and best Progressive Power Metal bands! I can rectify that with a few thoughts about the new album by Heaven’s Cry.
OUTCAST is the bands fourth album and they are still on Prosthetic Records, which is a strange home as Prosthetic seems to be more of a trendy label, and not as plugged into what is going on in the underground Power-Prog scene. However, I can’t fault the label for signing this veteran, yet still underground band. The quartet from Montreal is building on the momentum generated from their last album in 2012…which was preceded by a 10 year gap between album #2 and album #3…a comeback of sorts?
OUTCAST has a lot going on in the seven song, 50 minute album. It is a very dense listen with lots of playing, lots of music and not much space however the vocal melodies are very sweet and engaging so despite a ton of progressive musicianship going on, they still retain the site of the song. This perhaps is derived from what I hear to be some solid multi-part vocal lines and melodies reminding me a hint of King’s X, Queen, maybe even Enuff Z’ Nuff…but Heaven’s Cry are way heavier than all those bands.
This is quite an intense listen, the hallmark of a good challenging progressive album. There is some narration on the record, which is cool but to me it is buried a bit far back in the mix so you can’t really pick it out clearly. The album has a kitchen-sink’ feel to it, it goes in several different directions at once, different tones, paces and styles often all crammed into the same composition. The guitar tone is quite aggressive, heavier than on previous albums, but not too abrasive and they certainly do not forget the ‘Metal’ part of the term ‘Progressive- Metal’. There is certainly a wide-open range of sounds, some industrial, some orchestral sounds, some weird little jazzy bits and acoustic guitar, all heard on a single song called, ‘Symmetry’. It is not symmetrical in the slightest!
I found OUTCAST and the newer style a bit harder to listen to and enjoy and perhaps even harder to describe. Again that is the hallmark of a good prog record. There is a lot going on in this cerebral collection of songs with top-notch playing. It is not my favourite album by Heaven’s Cry but I do see what they are doing and admire and respect it. Even though OUTCAST will not likely have heavy rotation in my player, I definitely recommend for Prog fans and adventurous listeners.
1. The Human Factor
3. The Day the System Failed
4. If I Only Knew
5. A Shift in Scenery
Pierre St. Jean Vocals, Guitar
Éric Jardin Guitar
Sylvain Auclair Vocals, Bass
René Lacharité Drums
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