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I hear a lot of people saying that this isn't as good as Lost Horizon. Why? Why would you even bother to make that point? They are nothing alike. Heed are very much their own band. What, did you go into this expecting Wojtek-caliber arrangements and Daniel Heiman wailing through more eleven minute fantasy epics? Nothing about this project alludes to anything of the sort, and if you put aside your preconceived notions about Lost Horizon and their quality, you might just enjoy Heed's superlative debut The Call a lot more.
The basic style pushed forward on this album is a modern, driving style of pulsating, writhing traditional metal that puts forward an interesting question - how exactly did the genre go from the riff-heavy, galloping medieval knight festivals and leather n' chains manifestos to what we see on this album? It's kind of like a view into some kind of dystopian Heavy Metal future where the music is heavier, the vocals angrier and the mood darker and more serious and even pretty epic at times. It's like...some sort of broken hope; a fragment of the promise that Heavy Metal could have fulfilled with time and logical progression and a lack of bad ideas influxed in. It's the sound of a band that has nothing left to lose in a world that has all but forgotten about its genre, and so they take it to its logical extreme. Hey, that would make a pretty good "apocalyptic future" film! I can just picture it now: In a dark and distant future, where nothing is sacred anymore, one band has been chosen to save the world from the apocalyptic clutches of Jon Schaffer's Demonic Army. Pushed to their limits...beyond all reasonable thought...abandoning their moral principles and all sensibility of traditional riff and song structure...they must go to the depths of human depravity and HEED THE CALL!
Ahem. Yes, Heed's The Call is really quite a new and strange beast, sounding nothing like anything else I've heard in the past. It isn't quite prog or anything, just really different sounding. A lot of people might be thrown off by the modernity on display here, and you might be tempted to call this mallcore or any other thing that vaguely implies something negative about this. But it isn't, and you'd be wrong. The guitars on here aren't really doing what you'd consider traditional metal riffs, so much as they are just teaming up with the bass and drums to produce a muscular, heaving wall of sound to back up Daniel Heiman's wailing vocals. This might sound lame, but it isn't - everything sort of gels together to create this almost chaotic, vengeful backdrop, and when you turn it up loud enough, you can actually sort of feel it in you, vibrating and beating like a living human heart. It's a massive, controlled dirge, washing over the listener with just the right amount of depraved filth, just the right amount of traditional melody, subtly intertwined into something quite fresh and interesting. I don't know how intentional this was, but it is a brilliantly executed effect, and it creates some really great atmosphere and power on a record that would be just as powerful as an A Capella one with just Heiman singing alone.
But really, let's just skip everything else and talk about Heiman, because let's face it, you didn't come to hear the guitarist, the bassist or the drummer, and you definitely didn't come because you liked the guy who produced this slab of molten, dripping steel. No, you came because you wanted to hear Mr. Heiman sing, and how can anyone, much less I, blame you? He gives an excellent performance on here. Fucking excellent, I should say, with his emotive, clear, muscular wail belting out a set of vocal lines on every single song, with each and every one of them being 100% all natural and genuinely powerful. The choruses are especially stirring and well done, and he even pulls off a rather traditional sounding ballad on "Nothing," to close out the album. The man's voice is positively soul searing. I can't even pick standouts; they're all just too damn good. No, there is no performance here to technically rival songs like "Highlander," "Cry of a Restless Soul" or "Pure," but we do have a collection of songs that the man puts an absolutely wonderful performance into anyway, so throw away any preconceived notions of the unreachable standards set by Heiman's previous band and enjoy this one for the Heavy Metal masterpiece of the modern day that it is. There are a few songs that aren't quite as strong, like "Hypnosis," but really, for the most part even those are still good enough to not worry about skipping. Listen to this, listen to it now, and do it without any hesitation.
And please, folks, support the Resistance Against Jon Schaffer (RAJS). It is a blooming and promising cause that I really cannot advocate any more strongly. One day the evil tyrant will fall, and a new renaissance of Heavy Metal will rise again!
As is now customary with nearly every metal act, this opens with an intro track, and for once, I like it, and it gives the album a little more depth. It serves to set up one of the better tracks 'I am Alive'. Strong song and a great way to open an album. Unfortunately, it here that the songs started to blend for me. Honestly, I was distracted enough by reading some other reviews for this album that Ashes, Enemy, and Salvation all passed me by.
However, while those tracks were playing, I learned that the vocalist here is pretty hot stuff in the power community. While I do not know about that, he is definitely the strongest player on this stage. I also noticed something that would normally be a turn-off for me. This album has some mainstream metalcore influences. They are subtle and done well, but I hear some pitch harmonics and breakdowns. They are not present on every track, and are done with incredible taste, so they actually improved the album.
Tears of the Prodigy and The Other Side recaptured my attention and really brought up the feel of this album for my personal high point: Hypnosis.
It is fast, it is exciting, and I truly enjoyed it. I was honestly wondering if the album could manage to top itself at this point. Nothing is an acoustic piece that really displays the vocal talents here, and is a breath of fresh air. The Flight picks up after nothing and ends this experience on a strong note.
You should not pick this album up for spectacular guitar, interesting drums, or a superb bassist. Those are all present and all do their jobs well. The soul, the spirit of this is in the vocalist, for he is the one that really makes this work.
You can look at this album two ways. One can think that the songs are bland, similar, rather stripped down, and only supported by a strong vocalist. I view it as an album with strong songs that show a minor modern influence, and flow together really well. This album walks a fine line between mediocrity and masterful. It is truly neither, but is more on the masterful side.
Well let's get a few things straightened out right off the bat. This is not Lost Horizon in any way shape or form. Partly because of the musical genius behind Lost Horizon was Wojtek Lisicki, who is not part of Heed. The epic atmosphere, the torrent of non stop riffage, and the trasncendental feel is not here. However, that is not the aim of Heed. What is presented here is a midpaced style of heavy/power metal that one could compare to the likes of Edguy and Dream Evil, except with a more heavy riff oriented approach and less of a "happy" theme.
Present here are the absolutely killer vocals of Daniel Heiman, who I've always admired for his sheer vocal prowess and his amazing voice. In my own personal opinion, he is tied with Nils K. Rue of Pagan's Mind for the most talented vocalist in metal. He delivers a stunning performance on every single one of the songs on the album. Hearing his voice soar to heights not approached by many others sends a shiver of anticipation down my spine to see just exactly what he will pull off next. Not a boring moment from him at all! To compliment(Yes I mean compliment, the true treat here is Daniel's voice!) all of this is the beautiful yet powerful riff work of Fredrik Olsson, another former member of Lost Horizon. There is nothing too terribly amazing here, nor is it a work of a technical virtuoso, but it must be said that Fredrik seems to know just what to play at just the right times. You'll find no repetative boring riffs on "The Call".
Also there are a few notable electronic elements to be heard. Used very tastefully are samples that enhance the conurrent mood of the album, which can be only described as "dreamy, yet powerful".
Pro's: The voice of Daniel Heiman, powerful riffs, fresh sound.
Con's: Nothing too terribly innovative, music not as in depth as anticipated, the lack of the awesome lead work of Wojtek Lisicki.
All in all, Heed's debut "The Call" is definitely one to pick up. This will be a band to look out for in the future, without a doubt.
When it came to my attention that Dan Heiman had left Lost Horizon, I was naturally disappointed as I knew that his voice was not something that you encounter every day, in fact I don’t think I’ve heard anyone quite like him. However, naturally when the announcement of a new band for the ex-Lost Horizon vocalist and former guitarist of the same band Fredrik Olsson materialized, I began to see it as a new chapter in the book of heavy metal.
The first thing that one should understand about Heed is that although the vocalist is still the same one that gave us such classics as “Perfect Warrior” and “Lost in the Depths of Me”, there are many differences between this act and the one it’s members came from. The songs are much shorter and structurally much simpler, the overall atmosphere is heavier, and the keyboards play more of a support role and less of an active one. When you combine all of the elements mentioned with a few well placed modern effects and studio tricks, you actually get something a bit similar to Nocturnal Rites on the Afterlife album, albeit with a singer that possesses nearly twice the range of that band’s vocalist.
Lyrically the subject matter on this release is not all that different from the consistent message of self-empowerment found on Lost Horizon’s work, although songs such as “Nothing”, “The Other Side” and “Ashes” contain a sense of personal vulnerability that was not found on their two albums nor probably will ever appear on any future releases by them. “I’m Alive” and “Enemy” are probably the most similar to Lost Horizon lyrically out of all the songs on here.
Olsson’s lead playing and general riffing on here is highly reminiscent of post-Sacred Talisman era Nocturnal Rites. “Last Drop of Blood”, “Hypnosis” and “Tears of Prodigy” almost sound like they could have appeared on either “Shadowland” or “The Grand Illusion”. However, Olsson’s lead work is not quite as climactic and riveting as Nils Norberg’s, but it works equally as well as Heiman’s vocals are the primary thrust of the music and it wouldn’t due having an equally present impresario confusing the music and it’s audience.
So what are the highlights of this album? There aren’t any, I don’t skip any songs when I listen to this album; everything is essentially where it should be. You’ve got triumphant anthems with some modern twists in songs like “I’m Alive”, “The Permanent End Celebration” and “Tears of Prodigy”. You also have an all acoustic ballad in “Nothing”, which highlights the emotional and technical capabilities of Dan Heiman as a singer. You’ve got slow thudding heavy tracks like “The Other Side”, “Last Drop of Blood”, and “Enemy”. Faster tracks like “Hypnosis” and “Ashes” are sure to please the grassroots power metal faithful. In short, you get it all in one nice little compact CD.
In addition to the stellar music on here, we also have some rather surprising guest appearances from artists that I used to think were 2nd raters. Kee Marcello, one time replacement guitarist for John Norum in the infamous progressive rock band Europe rips out a mean as hell set of lead slots in “Flight”, a rather impressive bonus track. Goran Edman, the person whom I view as the worst vocalist that Yngwie Malmsteen ever had, puts his efforts in as a backup vocalist to help Heiman fill out the textures of his many inspired choruses. Both of these men have reputations as being attached to fluffy 80s music, and here they have aided in the creation of one of the heaviest power metal albums ever put out.
In conclusion, although this is a far cry from what Lost Horizon has done up till now, I encourage fans of the band to pick it up. If you like Nocturnal Rites, Falconer, or any of the other heavier Power Metal acts out there this is a must have. I listen to it off myself and regard it as one of the best albums of 2005; get off your ass and get yourself a copy now.
After Daniel Heiman left Lost Horizon, everybody had been thinking, if Lost Horizon will be able to make albums so good, and what will be done of that awesome voice. The second answer is in this album.
This is straight power metal. I can't think of any band that sounds like this, but that is because I don't know if there is any power metal band that is so simple! Really, this looks like mainstream power metal. Every song has almost the same speed, same structure, and there aren't any memorable solos, even some are quite good. So why that 'high' rating?
Daniel Heiman is a god. Really, he is the only reason to buy this album. He was better in Lost Horizon, but even though, he sounds like an angel here. I can't think of many vocalists better that this. At power metal, he is unbeatable. Almost every chorus here is amazing only because of him. His voice is so uplifting and powerful, that it's very difficult to not make a good album with him.
So this album is only for those that want to hear more of Daniel Heiman, since we don't know when Lost Horizon will release another album. But remember, this isn't Lost Horizon. Only get this if you really love Heiman's voice. If you don't like it, subtract 50 points, and you'll ses how this record has nothing special, but the voice.