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Heir Apparent - The View From Below CD (album) cover

THE VIEW FROM BELOW

Heir Apparent

 

Progressive Metal

3.96 | 4 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The View from Below" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US power/progressive metal act Heir Apparent. The album was released through No Remorse Records in October 2018. Heir Apparent formed as far back as 1983 and released their debut album "Graceful Inheritance" in 1986, to a generally positive reception and more than one raving review in the contemporary metal press. It took the band three years to release their sophomore album "One Small Voice (1989)", and unfortunately for the band their window of opportunity had closed, and they disbanded in 1990. They had a short reunitement in 1998, and reunited again in 2000 playing sporadic shows. They recorded a demo in 2003 but other than that and a couple of compilation releases, there has been no new output from Heir Apparent since the release of "One Small Voice (1989)", making "The View from Below" the bandīs first studio release in 29 years.

Quite a few things have happened on the metal scene in those years and of course also within the Heir Apparent camp. Naturally and not surprisingly there have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of "One Small Voice (1989)". Lead vocalist Steve Benito has been replaced by Will Shaw and keyboard player Michael Jackson has been replaced by Op Sakiya. The remaining part of the lineup who recorded the predecessor are bassist Derek Peace, guitarist Terry Gorle, and drummer Ray Schwartz (who in the bandīs original run went under the name Ray Black).

"Graceful Inheritance (1986)" was a decent quality US power/heavy metal release, while "One Small Voice (1989)" took the bandīs music in a slightly more progressive direction. The material on "The View from Below" is a continuation of the US power/progressive metal sound of the predecessor, but itīs generally a far more intense, dark and heavy release than anything the band have released before. Shaw is a more than capable replacement for Benito, and he delivers a strong and passionate vocal performance throughout the album. He is able to hit the high notes, but also capable of singing more raw vocals (not extreme by any means of course).

Keyboards still have an atmosphere enhancing place in the soundscape (sometimes providing the music with an epic feel), but itīs not the type of album where any instrument stand out above the others. All instruments and vocals are well balanced in the mix. Itīs a well sounding, professional, and powerful production job, which suits the material perfectly.

The material on the 8 track, 45:05 minutes long album are well written, featuring strong vocal melodies and catchy moments. Itīs predominantly slow- to mid-paced music, but "Savior" is a slightly faster-paced track, which fully showcases that Heir Apparent also master that type of musical expression. In their 1980s heyday Heir Apparent were often mentioned along artists like Queensrĸche, Crimson Glory, and Fates Warning, but itīs especially the former mentioned and their mid- to late-1980s output, which is a valid reference. "The View from Below" features some of the same almost futuristic features as Queensrĸcheīs 1986 "Rage for Order" album. Upon conclusion itīs a brilliant release on almost all parameters possible. Not genre defining nor pushing the boundaries of US power/progressive metal, but itīs a high quality release deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 4/5 |

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