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Heir Apparent - Graceful Inheritance CD (album) cover


Heir Apparent


Progressive Metal

3.64 | 15 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Tearing down the walls

HEIR APPARENT belong to the category of bands that release a couple of memorable albums and disappear in the haze. Bearing a beautiful, yet bizarre cover, Graceful Inheritance was the band's debut back in 1986 and rightfully claims its place among the very first prog-metal releases along with the respective albums of the ''titans'' of those ages, Queensryche and Fates Warning.

The characteristic sound of HEIR APPARENT owes a lot to the distinct voice of Paul Davidson who, broadly speaking, belongs to the class of the 80's high-pitched singers, with the addition of an epic component that reflects on the band's overall sound. For the reader, a good comparison might be Riot's Thundersteel era. The sound of the band generally approaches the late 80's American heavy/power - and speed at times - metal (Liege Lord, Fifth Angel) with a number of classic metal influences in the vein of early Iron Maiden (Iron Maiden, Killers) and Warlord (Deliver Us). Especially, the band borrows this epic aspect from the latter, while bands like Omen or Manilla Road might come in mind, particularly to the fans of epic metal.

To make things clear, this debut contains much more than conventional heavy/power metal. Although it is evident that the riffs are ''children'' of the 80's, the guitar and bass lines are played in a sophisticated, very innovative way for 1986. In particular, Gorle and Peace play like they have been together for many years, the guitar supporting the bass lines and vice versa. This chemistry is even more obvious in the most progressive moments of the albums (e.g the instrumental R.I.P.). The mid-tempo tracks of the album bear the progressiveness of early Queensryche and Crimson Glory, especially in the vocals and the emblematic high-pitched riffs. Another Candle and Hands of Destiny clearly resemble to the great moments of early Queensryche while Keeper of the Reign could have easily been a part of The Warning album.

Despite the similarities with the aforementioned bands, Graceful Inheritance maintains a unique character, blending the heavy/power metal with sophisticated tunes of a new (at the time) genre. Although many would argue that HEIR APPARENT have litte to do with progressive metal, the originality exists in the cultured approach of metal music and not necessarily in odd timings and complex arrangements; an album that could stand on the same level - and indeed has a similar approach - to albums like The Warning or Rage for Order.

Apparently, the tracks that stand out are those closer to progressive forms; Another Candle, Hands of Destiny and Keeper of the Reign are genre masterpieces. The Servant and The Cloak are the ''speedy'' highlights, while the album's last 3-4 tracks, without being weak, are the least interesting. This debut is highly recommended to power/prog metal fans that have an affinity for the 80's. For those who prefer the more complex forms of 90's onwards or technical forms, this might disappoint you. Nevertheless, one of the most important and historical albums of its category, Graceful Inheritance should be heard at least once...

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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