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January 2006
Released: 2005, Candlelight / Rise Above
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

After a long wait, Newfoundland’s best band has returned with their new album of stoner / doom / Sabbath - metal in the form of REPUBLIC?. The album was recorded here in Newfoundland by producer Rick Hollett and was mixed by the acclaimed (in doom circles) Billy Anderson in San Francisco. The end result is a clear and heavy sounding recording. The bass guitar is slightly buried but the drums, vocals, and especially guitar sound excellent. The strength of the material is top notch, stylistically continuing on from the previous sHEAVY masterpiece, SYNCHRONIZED (2002).

Longtime sHEAVY drummer, Ren Squires is not present on this album and keen listeners can tell. New drummer, Kevin Dominic, has a style that fits perfectly, in part due to his past history playing in a few bands with sHEAVY guitarist Dan Moore. Some of the highlights of the album includ the album opener, “Spy. Vs. Spy”, which has a killer main riff that will have you nodding along from the start. Vocalist Steve Hennessy continues to channel the spirit of 70’s Ozzy with his distinctive vocal style. Another track with a monstrous groove is “The Hangman”. Ya gotta love the guitars at the beginning of “Standing At The Edge of the World” with the chunky “dunn-dunn” followed by the screaming “errraaaooww” (you have to hear it to get my pathetic attempt of describing the riff - ha!). At about 2mins in we are treated to a very cool Sabbath riff that could be expanded into a new song. “A Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere” is another of the up-tempo rockers that grabbed me upon first listen. Often, it’s these style tracks that I get more into as opposed to the slower overly doomy tracks.

I realize I have a bias with this band as they are seen as hometown heroes being the only metal band from Newfoundland to get international recognition. That aside, they do have what it takes - the proof is on their albums and their recent live DVD. The only disappointment is that the band doesn’t play live regularly or write and rehearse material on a regular basis – such is the case with a band that doesn’t pay the bills from their music based in a province where its members have often had to leave to find work. That they’ve been able to keep the sHEAVY machine alive this long is a testament to their dedication, vision, and love for this style of metal.
Track Listing

1. Spy vs. Spy
2. The Rook
3. Hangman
4. Standing at the Edge of the World
5. Revenge of the Viper Three
6. A Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere
7. The Man Who Never Was
8. Stingray Part III
9. Moments of Silence
10. Imitation of Christ
11. Last Chance ... Gremlin X


Steve Hennessey – vocals
Dan Moore – guitar
Keith Foley – bass
Kevin Dominic – drums

Next review: » sHEAVY - The Machine That Won The War (Ltd. edition)
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