9 OUT OF 10
I must admit I hadn’t heard of Heaven Below when I was presented with their album to review and all I can say to that now is, WHY THE HELL HADN’T I HEARD OF THEM?
But let’s start at the beginning shall we?
Heaven Below are a four piece hard rock band hailing from Los Angeles who formed in late 2007. As with many bands still trying to find their feet, they underwent several personnel changes, before completing the current line up in 2014.
The band’s debut album “Countdown to Devil” was released in March 2009, reaching no 1 on Tradebit.com and no 15 in Amazon’s New Release chart and single “When Daylight Dies” made waves on the US rock stations in the winter of 2012 leading Hard Rock Haven to hail them as “the next Guns N Roses” with The New York Examiner describing their live performance as “unbridled balls to the wall ferocity.”
It was around this time that the band started work on what be their third album. Says lead singer Patrick Kennison “nearly 4 years ago the band and I decided that we’d like to start working on a concept record. We knew how ambitious it sounded to even consider that but once several legendary artists offered to help make it become a reality, we knew we had something.”
And what better legendary artists than Dirk Schneider himself (U.D.O and Accept), Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys / Broken Teeth / Watchtower), Lita Ford and Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus)
“Good Morning Apocalypse” is a concept album, although what the concept itself is remains a bit of a mystery. Personally, I made it the story of a soldier undergoing medical experiments which results in global apocalypse. Of course, I could be so far off target with that I would be in a different stratosphere but that’s just my take on it. (Bear in mind I had no lyrics in front of me to read through as I listened!)
Anyway on with the review.
The band, it seems, are very much inspired by classic hard rock and metal, featuring the twin guitar set up that this genre favourites, but they have added their own modern twist. There are heavy riffs and guitar sounds influenced by the thrash period, fiery guitar solos and a strong and solid rhythm section resulting in a late 80’s sound that has been mixed perfectly with something more powerful and raw, while maintaining the melody.
The choruses are big and loud, complete with powerful “in your face” vocals from Kennison, whose coarseness is softened at times by dueting with the female guest singers and also, the surprise element of this album maybe, the operatic talents of Mary Whitman, giving the band, at times, an almost Nightwish / Within Temptation feel about them.
The album has been written, performed and recorded with such passion and emotion, it brought me out in goosebumps at times, and the production is absolutely perfect.
With a running time of 56 and a half minutes, this twelve track album, is due for release on October 14th 2016 on Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label, and, if I didn’t have it already, I would be first in the queue.
I absolutely loved this album and despite having listened through it at least half a dozen times, I have not got bored with it, I don’t think I ever will do, and I am actually quite sad to be taking it out of my car now.
This album is a must for any metal listener and I would list it as my joint favourite album of this year.
I loved it…….and I am sure you will too.
Heaven Below are:
- Patrick Kennison – Vocals and Guitar (Union Underground / Lita Ford)
- Lucas Kanopa – Guitars
- John Younger – Bass
- Shad Wilhelm – Drums
- (Guest vocalists – Udo Dirkschneider, Jason McMaster, Lita Ford and Kobra Paige)
- “Nefarious Angels” (feat. Jason McMaster)
- “Renegade Protest Movement” 3:48
- “Follow Me Under”
- “Devilina And The Damage Done” (feat. Kobra Paige)
- “Nightfall Comes To Life”
- “Killing The Deadman”
- “Running Under Satan’s Hand” (feat. Lita Ford)
- “Death Battalion”
- “Bonded By Blood”
- “Black Sunrise/War Of The Gods” (feat. Udo Dirkschneider)
- “Among The Wolves/Worldwide Suicide” (feat. Mary Whitman)
- “I Would Do It All Again/Burials At Sunset”
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Loud Stuff. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Reproduced here with kind permission by Loud Stuff.