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Hillward - System CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.00 | 3 ratings

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4 stars Now here we are getting into the sophomore album recorded by this band which is hailing from Quebec, Canada. They once started as a standard trio, emerging out of the forerunner band Southern Cross, consisting of the core trouper David Lizotte (guitar, vocals), Jean-Francois Boudreault (bass) and drummer Antoine Guertin. After the debut album release though the line up would be enhanced by another guitarist plus a keyboarder. And so dual guitar work rules, the keys respectively electronics are still playing a minor role anyhow. This album marks a really big affair for those who are keen on heavy progressive rock in general, let's say in the vein of Porcupine Tree, just for the record.

A proper example for a steady alternation between heavy and atmospheric parts. Almost everything sounds improved when daring to compare with the former band, especially the vocals. Yes, the HILLWARD crew operates with heart and mind, though forever lost in the 'System', for what I understand the lyrics. 'The ones who should be the last to die, and those with all that money cannot buy' - that is meant like drawing a murky future overall I would say. And the cover image somehow may express a weird relationship of nature and modern civilisation. Somewhat reflecting the current situation, food for thought in any case.

At the very start you will be acquainted with David Lizotte's sensitive singing voice on Foster The River. Also focussed on acoustic guitar this is a rather superb entry! There are some other haunting compositions to explore, which do remind of the UK band Mansun a bit, for example the lovely Fragile. Others are more deriving from the heavier side predominantly, for example Long Way Down including some proper metal riffs. Or Hollow which is running with beautiful guitars and some headbanging qualities.

The couple Life In Serigraph and Flat Light is prospering with a gripping flow and then - 'you make me feel alive' - the refrain of my current favourite Haven seems to express some confidence anyhow. A top notch album, provided with a compelling atmosphere all over. Other bands which come into mind close in style are Aussie band Opus Of A Machine or Non Newtonian Man from Italy. Also, I might not be surprised if there would be some staff interweavement with another Quebec band named Inner Odyssey.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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