Heyoka’s Mirror – The Uninvited King
Release Date: 06/03/2021
Running Time: 50:49
Review by Beth Jones
Rick, the grand high wizard here at camp Ever Metal, knows my tastes pretty well now. Not really a surprise, as he has lived with me and my eclectic temperament for the last 6 years! So, when Calgary based Progressive Rock/Metal band, Heyoka’s Mirror dropped their debut album, “The Uninvited King” into the EM inbox, he sent it in my direction. Their email stated that they had been likened to a variety of bands, including my all-time favourites, Queen, which made me pay attention.
I can confirm that there’s definitely a vast variety of influences in Heyoka’s Mirror’s sound, including the aforementioned gods of music themselves. The opening track ‘The Light Within’ starts with drums, alongside some delicious synth and guitar, very much akin to the likes of The Enid. But it launches into an indulgent guitar solo, which just has Brian May written all over it, and some ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ vocal harmonies.
The tracks that follow are much heavier, drawing from Classic Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, and a touch of Thrash, 70s Hard Rock, and 90s Grunge to boot, but all with the overarching difficult rhythms and ‘might as well chuck it in, why the fuck not’ nature of prog. We even get some death growl vocals, because, in prog, anything goes! There are some pretty groove-laden riffs throughout, too (‘Shadow Man’ is full of them).
The mid-point to the album treats us to a 10-minute prog marathon, exploring the full range of progressive sounds, right from the more modern, to the more classic. It’s full of discordant guitars, crazy vocals, soft interludes, pauses, reverb, complicated rhythmic patterns, and unexpected cadences. My kid brother once dropped acid at Reading Festival, and completely missed Metallica (one of the main reasons he went in the first place) because he was curled up in a ball on the floor, facing away from the stage, rocking and staring into a hallucinogenic abyss that had opened up in the field in front of him. I’m fairly sure that this track was probably pretty similar to the sounds inside his head at that moment!
Ironic, really, that the next track on the album is called ‘Asylum’ (On a side note, this is also nearly 9 minutes long, and as bonkers as the previous track, which makes me very happy. Great bit of classical inspired piano, and jazz funk bass in the middle of it, too, before the bonkers kicks off again).
The album takes a twist from this point, sticking to a modern prog sound, with a hint of djent. That is until the final track ‘Celebration Of Light’, which almost brings everything back full circle, in epic, cinematic, 70’s inspired anthem style. It’s a great way to finish an album. Beautiful sweeping guitar solos, vocal harmonies, thumping drums, and expansive synth sounds triumphantly march towards the climax of what is, indeed, a mighty fine debut album. This is the musical equivalent of philosophical debate, in an attempt to reach the Nirvana of complete understanding, whilst high on psychedelic drugs. It’s an impressive thing to behold.
‘Asylum’ (Official Video)
01. The Light Within
02. Heavy Rain
03. Shadow Man
04. The Darkness Within
06. Deal with the Devil
07. King Of Deception
08. Celebration Of Light
Andrew Balboa – Guitar/Synth/Vocals
Omar Sultan – Guitar/Vocals
Additional Album Line-up:
Casey Lewis – Drums
Johnny Kerr – Drums
Brendan Rothwell – Bass
Renan Weignater – Bass
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