Heavenly - Sign Of The Winner

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Noise Records/TNT
Catalog Number: 54/00542
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:03:00

With the amount of metal coming out of Europe at the moment, it is interesting to note that France is decidedly absent in the source of this powerful resurgence. Heavenly are from France and here they are following-up their successful debut Coming From The Sky with the self-indulgent title of Sign Of The Winner. What made their debut successful was that it followed the well-worn path that is symphonic power/speed metal ala Freedom Call, old-school Helloween, Iron Savior, Stratovarius, and Angra. Nothing much, thank the heavens, has changed in this last year and this is definitely no bad thing - not with this band anyway.

Heavenly's newest release opens with, surprisingly, an introduction. Traditionally, intros are short and to the point, but this is a full-blown 4 minute instrumental entitled "Break The Silence" - which it does. It quickly wings its way into "Destiny" with Ben's magically high vocals ripping into the start of this speed metal epic. Whilst Ben should just get it over with and let everyone know that his last name is Kiske, he has managed to combine other singers almost perfectly - namely Andre Matos (ex-Angra, Virgo, Shaman) and Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) in their early days. It's phenomenal really and I for one am glad that a singer such as Ben can be found in a metal band.

The production of Tommy Hansen is fancy for this style with plenty to keep the ears happy and plenty to keep the ears at work. In particular, take note of the use of keys in all the songs - they really do create a supple sound that is not always immediately apparent. After more listens you will still be able to pick out more. The great thing about this disc is that from the moment it begins, it doesn't let up. As in, if you are into well-layered guitars, double bass drumming, swift solos, stratospherically high vocals, and melody after melody - then there is a lot to get out of it. And with almost no break in the action, you'll wonder where the 54 minutes of your life just went.

From everything written thus far, it may be fair to assume that Heavenly are a copycat band. Well, for all intents and purposes they are. Yet Heavenly are a band with so much to offer. I can't wait to hear what they come up with next.

Also released by Sauron Music (1002/60813)

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Break The Silence (4:01) / Destiny (6:59) / Sign Of The Winner (4:05) / The World Will Be Better (6:54) / Condemned To Die (6:15) / The Angel (2:06) / Still Believe (5:02) / The Sandman (4:43) / Words Of Change (5:06) / Until The End (8:52) / French Bonus Track: Lonely Tears (4:52)

Ben Sotto - vocals
Maxence Pilo - drums
Fred Leclercq - guitars
Pe Pelisson ? bass

Coming From The Sky (2000)
Sign Of The Winner (2001)
Dust To Dust (2004)
Virus (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin FR

Added: December 24th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.heavenly.fr
Hits: 613
Language: english


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