Thursday, May 6, 2010

Heavenly - Sign of the Winner

When I first decided to review this album, the day I got it, I thought to myself "Hey, it might be a cool challenge to review the album without even mentioning Helloween!" Well I've already mentioned Helloween, and I'm not up for a challenge, so I hope you've heard Helloween, otherwise you'll be pretty much in the dark. Oh, and before I go any further, when I compare Heavenly to Helloween, I mean Helloween right around the Keeper of the 7 Keys parts 1&2.
When it comes to power metal, I like bands that do it with total authority and character, as if they are seriously convinced that they invented the genre. That's one thing that's undeniable about Heavenly, they play power metal as if they've never even heard Helloween, if you ask me Helloween invented power metal. Heavenly has the knack for great chunky bombastic yet melodic riffs that give any song its backbone. Theres an excellent use of keyboards throughout the album. There's even the fucking token Helloween parts where the keys and the guitars play the same 16th notes.
Could Heavenly's singer sound anymore like Michael Kiske used to? Actually, I'm going to give him more credit than that. Heavenly's singer, Ben Sotto takes the helm with an even stronger presence than Michael Kiske did with Helloween. Hes got an even more incredible range than Kiske, and he uses it superbly. In fact Ben does a lot less of the lower toned stuff that Kiske sometime did. Ben has obviously studied his Kiske, there's so many little tendencies that Kiske had, such as rounding off a stanza of lyrics with an extra accented word and a rhythmic delay on that word will follow.
Heavenly's drummer has a great unique style all his own, just Ingo did, hahah. He'll throw around some typical rock beat high-hat / snare stuff, but not for very long. He likes to do a lot of interesting snare fills, like Ingo always did. Hes got what I like to call a good meat & potatoes style. Meaning hes perfect at doing the regular stuff and he always nails those parts, but he goes just above that and shows that hes not there to show off but to drive the song where its supposed to go and to do so with a lot of conviction. You won't hear a lot of 16th note bridges or fills from him.
Sign of the Winner has everything a power metal fan is going to be undoubtedly looking for. Melodic majesty, scrumptious syncopation, shreddy guitar / double bass passages with great catchy vocals atop them. Its almost as if Heavenly got fed up with what Helloween have been doing since the departure of Michael Kiske and broke into their studio and recorded Sign of the Winner. One thing I cant help but laugh about is that there have been two Helloween Tributes and two Heavenly albums since the year 2000. Heavenly were not on either of the Helloween tributes. Both Sign of the Winner and "Carry Your Heart" (2000) are tributes to Helloween. To end this, I have to apologize for all the Helloween talk, but honestly, the resemblance between heavenly and Helloween is absolutely uncanny.

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