Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: Heave - Promo 2005 (2005)

Heave [ Website | MySpace ]
Promo 2005

Formed in Sweden's capital city back in 1994, Heave spread their brand of crushing metal throughout Stockholm by relentless gigging in support of the three demos they released over the course of six years. Heave's sound during this period was fairly generic power metal molded in the image of bands like Iced Earth and Jag Panzer, but the year 2000 saw the band embark on a new course. Frontman Per Richard left the band to be replaced in 2005 by the charismatic Anna Olsson. Promo 2005 is Heave's first demo since Anna took over behind the mic and offers a glimpse of what's offered on the band's full-length debut.

At first glance, Heave could be mistaken for yet another female-fronted symphonic power metal band similar to Nightwish, After Forever, Lunatica... the list goes on and on. While there are similarities, Heave offers metal fans something a bit more substantial in terms of uniqueness. Backed up by the admirable rhythm section of Pasi Lappa (bass) and founder Patrik Nikolic (drums), the mammoth riffs laid down by Putti Stoor are reminiscent of early Iced Earth and Tad Morose. Even though there are only three songs offered here, each one contains enough variation to keep Heave's core sound - punishing as it is - from becoming stagnant. The main riff of "Stranger" is highly infectious, though the guitar tone on "Neverfall" is darker and more menacing. "Fears Come Alive" is the highlight of the promo, containing the most complex riff patterns of the three songs and featuring Lappi's bass in a prominent role.

All that being said, the core element in Heave's reinvented sound is the voice of Anna Olsson. She's certainly not of the operatic sort, being more like Doro and Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) in style. She's an excellent fit for Heave's aggressive sound, complimenting the menace and emotion of the music with her own convincing performance. Anna also has admirable range, sustaining some pretty impressive high notes on "Neverfall" and "Fears Come Alive". A newcomer to the metal scene, she's got what a lot of bands out there are looking for.

Final Day, the debut album that this promo foreshadows, has been released according to Heave's website. If the three songs on this promo are indicative of that album's overall quality, then make the effort to get your hands on it. Fans of everything from Lacuna Coil to Nightwish to Iced Earth will be interested in adding Final Day to their collection.
Track Listing
1 Stranger 3:35
2 Neverfall 4:12
3 Fears Come Alive 3:52
Total Runtime 11:39

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