|Review: Heavenly - Virus|
Label: Noise Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: February 6, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4/5 (80%) (22 Votes)
I've never much followed Heavenly before, except that I vaguely remember liking Sign Of The Winner, even if I recall it as being really generic. That was pretty much always Heavenly's problem - no matter how good they get, they are fundamentally a derivative band. Now that's not always something to hold back a band, and with their fourth full-length these guys have finally hit on the great truth of plagiarism: bad artists imitate, great artists steal.
With the oddly-titled Virus Heavenly have gone ahead and stolen Gamma Ray's sound lock, stock, and barrel. Gamma Ray worship is hardly new to Power Metal bands, but I don't know if I have ever heard it done this well. Truth be told, this is a better Gamma Ray album than Gamma Ray themselves have usually managed – certainly better than Powerplant or Somewhere Out In Space, though not quite up to the level of No World Order. But it's close. Every single element of Gamma Ray is reproduced here. The riffs, the drumwork, the melodies and the big choruses – Ben Sotto even sounds like Kai, if admittedly not as good. The keys are a little different and more 80's sounding, making "Liberty" sound like an Asia song if Asia had ever used a hyperactive double-kick drumset.
I don't want anyone to get the idea that I don't like this album – I really like it a lot. But it is only as good as it is because it is standing on Kai Hansen's shoulders. If this were an all-original album I might give it an extra half-point, but like in all artistic endeavors originality counts for something. Great artists steal, yes, but they also learn to at least file off the serial numbers before passing something off as their own. But it is good to know that if Gamma Ray ever die in a plane crash, Heavenly are here to take their place. I guarantee it would be years before anyone noticed. Virus is an excellent, but highly imitative Power Metal album that any fan of the genre should hunt down.
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