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Huis - Neither In Heaven CD (album) cover

NEITHER IN HEAVEN

Huis

 

Neo-Prog

3.87 | 147 ratings

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shaunch
4 stars Is this a change of approach for this Canadian outfit?

I was looking forward to this second album from Huis after recently giving their first effort time to make sense. I was impressed with their mix of light and dark with the obvious leanings towards "Mystery" and possibly "Arena". I came across "Neither in Heaven" on Spotify and settled down in anticipation. This not what I was expecting!

The title track is nothing but an introduction without revealing too much but when the 13.09 "Synthesesia" kicks in we are confronted with a much more 80's style heavy metal approach. There is more of an "Arena" sound here and I would say is better than the aforementioned with more twists and turns but with the heaviness of "Judas Priest". Ther is even a Rob Halford shriek towards the end as the music picks up towards the finale. This style is continued into the next track which is instrumental but it never reaches the heights of "Oude Kerk 1" from the previous album. It seems that the guitar playing from Michel St-Pere is not the driving force this time. This could be intentional to take the sound away from his main project.

If that was all a surprise, Track 4 takes us into sugary sweet territory. Not sure what to make of this effort, it kind off reveals itself in the second half of the song with some melodic guitar playing behind the voice of Sylvain but not quite. The next two tracks run into each other to make an 11 minute epic "The man on the hill", and once I had resigned myself to a totally different album to the one I was expecting, it is possibly the best part of the album. The Judas Priest sound is back again, the voice of Sylvain now sounds more like Paul Manzi of Arena (I thought he was a guest at one point) except with more depth and the riff that keeps creeping in takes me back to Black Sabbath in the Dio era. Not bad actually, I would give this 9/10. This is followed by another low point, the track "Red Gypsy" which although played well , reminded me of Madonna or Gloria Estefan, not my cup of tea. The album then moves back to the sugary sweet with the track "Memories" which is superior to track 4 and could be a grower. The album moves into more recognised territory on the final track "Nor the earth" which builds up slowly with a melodic feel to an epic lush sound and strong vocals, this is another high point

In summary, I wanted to give this 5 stars but I probably should settle for 3. It is a departure from the first album but once you take it for what it is, which I and possibly even the band haven't figured out yet, it has some enjoyable moments, melodic, epic and at times makes you nod your head and stomp your foot. 4 slightly confused stars out of 5.

shaunch | 4/5 |

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