Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
They’re as queer as a three dollar bill, but Rockford, Illinois’ The Heavils hold a place in my heart. Their quirky music is completely unclassifiable and it is compounded by the fact that they make their own guitars. Seeing them live is an experience like no other. Mossy is the spokesperson and the band plays thrashy, avant garde, heavy music with a terrific sense of humor. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Carter builds the fretless 5-string guitars (‘known as “Meanies”) that the band uses and they resemble a toilet seat, a lightning bolt, and carry names like the “Guitube,” “Clitar” and the “Motar,” which is made of old motorcycle parts (the toilet seat model comes complete with a toilet paper roll attachment to wipe the sweat off Carter’s bald head!). All gimmickry aside, The Heavils can actually play their instruments and with the help of Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) producing, HEAVILUTION is the second chapter to what is sure to be a memorable legacy for this band.
“Outside the Circle” is a thrashy number which Carter opens with a growling “OOOH!!” There are some cool riffs here and an excellent vocal performance from Carter. Songs like “Get Behind Me,” the title track and “Reflection” have a great groove to them. “Heavilution” has a funky bass solo and some really interesting guitar sounds that I’ve never heard before. The fat bass line of “Reflection” gets under your skin in a hurry and is among the standout tracks on the CD. “Just Got Back” is a cover of an old Cheap Trick song and Rick Nielsen actually plays guitar on the track, while his son Miles takes care of vocals. “Kadigimonk” is an eighteen minute instrumental track of guitar feedback, distorted kids voices and general noise and weird effects that brings the CD to a fitting close. Devin Townsend’s ear for detail and just the right sound is perfect for music as raw and ugly as The Heavils because he is able to turn the sludgy mess produced by a bunch of five-string fretless guitars into clear, listenable sound. This can’t be an easy task but Townsend is a notorious perfectionist and his ear for detail has helped bring The Heavils a bit more of an “album feel” on this release.
This is not pretty music and will NOT appeal to everyone. Like Primus, The Heavils are definitely an acquired taste. Their music doesn’t fit into a specific category or genre and music that people can’t classify usually keeps them away in droves. I’m sure The Heavils are not trying to conquer the world, nor will their music ever put them in a position to be corporate suck-ups, but for something different that is progressive and “thinking outside the box,” The Heavils are the band for the job.
**NOTE: The first pressing of HEAVILUTION has the tracklisting mixed up on the back cover.
KILLER KUTS: “Outside the Circle,” “Get Behind Me,” “Heavilution,” “Reflection,” “Touch”