Carpe Diem

Written by: PP on 14/12/2009 22:01:28

Two years back, I reviewed French power metal act Heavenly's previous album "Virus", and noted that the band's purpose wasn't so much to impress with originality than to solidify the foundations of the power metal genre. "Carpe Diem", their newest full length, adheres to that principle as well, except the overall feeling you get from the record is that it's better than its predecessor in every area. Instead of merely relying on traditional power metal colossal soundscapes, things have been tightened, the song writing has improved, and new elements have been introduced to the mix. All in all, "Carpe Diem" is a power metal album that sounds a) different and b) better than most of the other scheisse in the genre.

If classic rock was an influence on their previous output, then it's the name of the game now. The blazing solos, the subtle pianos, and the larger-than-life solos all make up for a ridiculously grandeur, majestic sound that simultaneously avoids the pitfall of an echoing soundscape, instead going for a feet-on-the-ground expression, though one that's still more ambitious than most bands in the genre dare to even dream of. "Full Moon", for example, will remind you of Europe's biggest and best moments, except Heavenly sound far more relevant than those guys have done since "The Final Countdown". The album's best song, "Farewell", is my personal favorite because of its....hold on a second, phone call. Oh, it's for you Heavenly. It's Freddie Mercury from Queen. He's speaking on behalf of the band and they want their song back. But hey, who doesn't love Queen? If a band is successfully able to emulate the "we are the champions" type classic rock sound, why not let them do just that? Strangely enough, even My Chemical Romance's "The Black Parade" comes into mind during a couple of tracks, although Heavenly's sound never comes across anywhere near as pretentious Queen-worshiping as theirs.

So if you like Queen-inspired classic rock with a dash of tight, epic power metal (see "Ashen Paradise") to top things off, then Heavenly is a logical choice. But even if power metal usually makes you wrench, Heavenly are likely to be one of the candidates to pass through the strict quality criteria you must own to only allow the best bands of the enormous gray mass of power metal acts into your consciousness. Maybe one of the reasons why Heavenly works so well is because it doesn't sound so god damn Germanic, subsequently offering something different to the genre for once?


Download: Farewell, Full Moon
For the fans of: Queen, Europe
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.12.2009
AFM Records

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