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Heir Apparent

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Heir Apparent One Small Voice album cover
3.65 | 19 ratings | 6 reviews | 16% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Just Imagine (4:32)
2. Crossing the Border (3:10)
3. Screaming (3:51)
4. Alone Again (3:49)
5. Cacophony of Anger (4:11)
6. The Sound of Silence (4:06)
7. We the People (3:38)
8. Young Forever (2:45)
9. One Small Voice (6:22)
10. Decorated (4:50)
11. The Fifth Season (5:39)

Total Time 46:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Benito / vocals
- Terry Gorle / guitars
- Derek Peace / bass
- Raymond Black / drums
- Michael Jackson / keyboards

Releases information

Released by Capitol Records/ Metal Blade in June 1989.
Produced by Heir Apparent.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HEIR APPARENT One Small Voice ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HEIR APPARENT One Small Voice reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
4 stars Crossing the borders of prog/AOR

The second and last (as of the time of writing) studio release of HEIR APPARENT finds them exploring new song-writing patterns and influences since the excellent debut. Being a five-piece band, with a new singer and a keyboardist on board, the shift to more prog/pomp/AOR forms - while maintaining the main power metal character - is evident.

Escaping from the classic heavy/epic vocal features of the debut, Steve Benito gives a more ''commercial'' sound to One Small Voice. Keyboards and bass playing also add to the transformation to more progressive forms. Similarly to the debut, the strong influences from Queensryche's ''The Warning'' and Crimson Glory's debut are still here, both on compositional approach (mainly guitar lines) and vocals where the high-pitched screams of Benito resemble to Geoff Tate and Midnight.

Melodic lines are regularly in place and the sound of the album is relatively more ''radio-friendly'' than the previous work, without falling in the trap of ''selling-out''. The production is clear and allows for all the instruments to sound at just about the right level. The characteristics that made HEIR APPARENT sound similar to bands of speed/power metal (i.e. Liege Lord, Agent Steel) are not as apparent in this album - slower tempos have replaced them in Alone Again, Decorated (possibly the least interesting tracks) and the title track which adds to the quality of the album with the beautiful acoustic guitars and melodic vocals.

High speed tempo tracks in this album are Crossing the Border, Young Forever and The Fifth Season which, coincidentally, include some excellent guitar work and powerful riffs; these are in my opinion the highlights of the album, though not as prog as other tunes. The rest of the tracks generally flow in a mid-tempo pomp/power metal pattern; We the People being the most interesting of all. The cover of the famous Simon&Garfunkel song does not impress me, as it does not add anything remarkable to the original version.

Although One Small Voice has not had the same impact on me as the debut (quality-wise) and besides its weak points, it contains some excellent pieces of prog/power with touches of AOR, deserving the rounding up of 3.5 to 4 stars. For influences on the latter prog/power bands of the genre, just listen to the opening riff of Crossing the Border...

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I was quite surprised when I heard this album recently. I though One Small Voice was released in the mid 90´s or later and the band was one of those so called melodic power metal groups of that era. The high pitched vocals, the epic keyboards, the fine melodies (with some obvious AOR influences) were typical of the style. But they did it all many years before, in a time you either had thrash metal bands (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth) or hard rock/glam outfits (Guns ´N Roses, Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi). Along with few others, they were quite ahead of their time and it may explain why this CD didn´t make it. A real pity.

This CD is a collection of fine power metal tunes much in the vein of Queensryche and Fates Warning´s best stuff. Steve Benito even had a vocal style very similar of that of Queensryche´s legendary Geoff Tate, which is a good thing, since the music is quite demanding in that field. Even if the songs themselves are not that much progressive, they were nevertheless quite inventive and innovative for the period. Even the apparently disastrous choice to cover such classic tune like Paul Simon´s The Sound Of Silence is successful here, giving the all too familiar radio sample a powerful arrangement that is respectful to the original melody and message. All 11 tracks are of the same quality and there are absolutely no fillers. Production is ok for 1989.

If you´re into melodic power metal with lots of personality you should not miss this CD. Rating: four strong stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "One Small Voice" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US Power/heavy metal act Heir Apparent. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in June 1989. It´s the successor to "Graceful Inheritance" from 1986 and features a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as lead vocalist Paul Davidson has been replaced by Steve Benito and keyboard player Michael Jackson has been added to the lineup as a fifth member. "Graceful Inheritance" generally received positive reviews at the time of release, but as it took the band three years to release "One Small Voice", their window of opportunity had closed, and they had a hard time fully capitalizing on their otherwise promising career start. Heir Apparent split-up in 1990.

The music on "Graceful Inheritance (1986)" is melodic US power/heavy metal, with the occasional (although very rare) nod towards progressive metal. Some of the elements of that style is continued on "One Small Voice", but they have turned up the progressive part of their sound considerably, making this album a melodic US power/progressive metal release. Having included a permanent keyboard player, the presence of keyboards are obviously more dominant in the soundscape than on the predecessor, but they aren´t the focus of the music. That would still be the hard rocking riffs, melodic solos, the pounding rhythm section, and the helium high pitched vocals by Steve Benito. Benito has a strong voice and a convincing delivery. Some of his vocal sections are crazy high pitched and technically very difficult to perform, but he pulls it off with ease.

So the musicianship is on a high level on all posts, but unfortunately the songwriting doesn´t quite follow suit. There are both weak moments and strong moments on "One Small Voice", but the album is overall fragmented and inconsistent, and it´s a bit hard to know exactly what it is Heir Apparent are aiming at. The sound production is also a bit thin and doesn´t really help the compositions shine, but neither the songwriting nor the sound production are downright awful, just not as interesting or as well sounding, as they could have been. "One Small Voice" features 10 original tracks and a cover of "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. A cover which Heir Apparent manage to put their own spin on, but still it´s nothing too special.

Heir Apparent are as mentioned obviously a well playing band, and new lead vocalist Steve Benito is a welcome addition to the group, but upon conclusion "One Small Voice" is simply a bit directionless and unremarkable. It´s progressive but not full-on progressive, and it´s not the type of progressive metal, which would probably satisfy the Dream Theater loving progressive metal fan, but rather those who enjoy the more melodic oriented material by 80s Queensr˙che. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Menswear
4 stars Holy Vocal Chords, Batman!

Steve Benito ladies and gentlemen, what a howler! Many times I surprised myself saying 'wow' under my breath. That guy can sing to Jupiter and back. In the direct vein of Goeff Tate, we can say that Benito's vocals are an hommage to Queensryche beloved singer. I can only admire such a gift and it's put to good use in this record.

The music is comparable to The Warning/Rage for Order phase of the 'ryche, so fans (like me) of this period should hurry up and give it a spin. The songs go from good to meh, with lots of axe shredding and a good layer of synthetiser to thicken up the sauce; hence, it does sounds more power metal than NWOBHM.

It's a receivable piece of work that won't drag forever and that's not too corny....but the second half has a tendency to be less inspired (read slower tempo songs). So, strong side A, not so on side B.

Solid and versatile guitar work and those 'hot-damn-that-man's-got-pipes' vocals are plenty to satisfy the Iron Maiden/Queenryche/early Dream Theater fan in you.

Put that on your list of hidden gems. Read 3 solid stars and a half.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Listening diary 26th March, 2021: Heir Apparent - One Small Voice (progressive power metal, 1989) Some relatively inoffensive Fates Warningesque traditional prog metal that strides into the realm of being utterly offensive with a pretty tasteless cover of "The Sound of Silence" - although they ... (read more)

Report this review (#2687988) | Posted by Gallifrey | Monday, January 31, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well,I cannot imagine how this hystorical album doesn't have any review here?!?!Something really unexplainable and unbelieveble!In my humble opinion,this album has the importnce of a TRANSCENDENCE-CRIMSON GLORY,or NO EXIT of FATES WARNING!Yes,this album was released in the same period of tim ... (read more)

Report this review (#259933) | Posted by Ovidiu | Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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