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Heir Apparent - The View from Below

Heir Apparent
The View from Below
by Mike "Bitichin" Bourgeois at 18 September 2018, 6:43 AM

Since 1984 Heir Apparent has been recording and touring, taking a break in the 90's and reuniting at the Legendary Wacken Open Air Festival in 2000. Their 1989 sophomore release "One Small Voice" was considered one of the best prog metal albums ever, so with that knowledge I was looking forward to listening to "The View From Below." Normally I avoid reviewing lyrics because they're usually so open to interpretation based on personal experience I could taint somebody else's view of the words. "The Man in the Sky" had an opening that actually had me rethink this strategy. Two voices, one arguing the scientific method is something necessary for an informed democracy, the other screaming about religious themed lifestyles. The song goes on to "The Door" to  further the point made that when we start arguing if science, not just specifics but in general is wrong, the Theocrates win, which ends up robbing us of freewill. New guy Will Shaw's voice is perfect for setting this up, filled with emotion and conviction.

"Here We Aren't" is a slow but moving song, lighter worthy but still a demonstration of the talent that made this band stand out originally. "Synthetic Lies" actually is a warning that we shouldn't rely on the information society entirely because it's too easy to manipulate for nefarious purposes. "Further and Farther" allows the original core of the band to show how tight a group can get after years of playing together, with bassist Derek Peace building a beautiful bridge between Ray Schwartz inspired drumming and the moving guitar of Terry Gorle. "Insommnia" was the only tune I felt was lacking, only because I felt keyboardist Op Sakiya was not used to fill out the body of the song. It could have made it a grand finale but instead it felt like a car that lacked it's kick-down when flooring the gas pedal. You're expecting that push that never comes through.

My final thoughts about this CD are that it is an excellent recording with few flaws. It has all the cord progression and lyrical content of a good Prog band minus the little used time signatures. If you're looking to dip your toe  into the prog metal scene, or looking to introduce someone to it, you couldn't do any better than "The View from Below".

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Man in the Sky
2. The Door
3. Here We Aren't
4. Synthetic Lies
5. Savior
6. Further and Farther
7. The Road to Palestine
8. Insomnia
Lineup:
Will Shaw - Vocals
Terry Gorle - Guitar
Derek Peace - Bass
Ray Schwartz - Drums
Op Sakiya - Keyboards
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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