Released: 1992, Pure Underground Records (re)
I wish I had done my research beforehand. I have been really enjoying the album by Heavenward. It was one of those bands that I knew nothing about, I just threw it on with minimal expectations. It was surprisingly good and I really enjoyed the album so much so that I considered putting it in my Top 20 for the site. After doing some reading of the press stuff that was sent with the album, I was disappointed to learn the album would not make my Top 20 because it came out in 1991! Damn! I'm two decades too late. Yes, WITHIN THESE DREAMS is a reissue on the Pure Underground label. While we normally we focus our reviews on studio albums released since the formation of the site in 1995, this one is worth mentioning in my opinion.
Heavenward is a Greek Power Metal band that released a pair of albums in the early 90's on the Rough Trade label. I'm surprised I missed a band if such high quality the first time around but not surprised that Pure Underground has decided to reissue it considering the massive resurgence in Greek and Italian Metal in the past few years. The album, originally running eight tracks, has been reissued with the 1989 demo, AT FIRST NATURE, and in an odd move, one new track has been added. All the tracks on the demo made the album, so there is quite a bit of duplication as it were but the album is remastered so it sounds pretty good. I’m not sure if the new song is an old unreleased song or a brand new composition. I hope it is the latter because that would be great if the band reformed. Staying on the topic of the ‘new’ song, ‘System Going Down’, it doesn’t really fit the style of the other songs. The vocalist, Kessel sings in a far more gruff style than his high-pitched screams on the 1991 album. That is OK but it just doesn’t fit and putting it at Track One was a mistake. While the song is good, it in a different style from the rest of the album and if they have reformed I hope he can still hit those high notes.
WITHIN THESE DREAMS opens very strong with a mighty scream piercing the sky on a track called ‘The Sky’. The overall sound is sort of Speed Metal, not quite pure Thrash, not quite Power Metal, not quite traditional or classic Metal but contains the best qualities of all three of those styles blended into one great whole like Risk, old Helloween and Blind Guardian when they were pioneering what would become modern Power Metal. They do have some longer more, developed cuts among the speed such as the seven-minute cut ‘Raging Waters’ that opens with an understated acoustic guitar accompanying a quiet vocal line that leads into a mid-pace, almost ballad like tune. However the album is generally pretty fast and to the point with excellent performances and energy to burn.
The press stuff that came with the album said that Heavenward is recommended for fans of Chroming Rose and Heaven’s Gate, which makes sense. That’s why I’m enjoying this album so much since I am on a kick of those two great old German bands as well. This album could single-handed revive the Greek economy if a million Greek guys bought it!