|Review: Heavenly - Carpe Diem|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 29, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.84/5 (76.73%) (55 Votes)
How "happy" is French Power Metal band Heavenly's latest offering? They recorded a version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," for Christ's sake! Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I like happy Power Metal. Carpe Diem truly pushes the boundaries of the style, but not always in a good way.
First, Heavenly are well known for imitating Helloween (you can't really call it "ripping off" Helloween since it is so blatant) and the first couple of tracks on Carpe Diem don't disappoint. The title track is a heavy, up-tempo piece in the Gambling with the Devil style while "Lost in Your Eyes" sounds more Keepers Pt 2-like. Then who, may I ask, gave Heavenly permission to start sounding like Queen?? "Farewell" could fit easily onto Night at the Opera with its melancholy piano intro, vocalist Ben Sotto's exceedingly high pitched singing and the song's "Bohemian Rhapsody" structure. I'm sure either Charley Corbiaux or Oliver Lapauze dropped some dough on a Brian May guitar pedal because it sounds like the Queen axeman himself is a guest performer.
The album see-saws back and forth between Helloween and Queen for several more tracks (with the odd Edguy or Iron Maiden riff tastefully inserted here and there) before we get to something remotely original, the song "The Face of Truth." How's that title for irony? The hyper speed "Ode to Joy," which isn't a bad song, actually, and the only other remotely original track, "Save Our Souls" (OK, the title isn't the original part), round out the album.
If this sounds like a mess, that's because it is. From the unabashed imitation to Sotto's Kiske-esque vocals (he DOES hit all the notes he goes for, thankfully), Heavenly sound like a band in search of an identity. The production, which emphasizes the low end to the point my speakers were buzzing regardless of the volume, doesn't help. There are some quite catchy choruses and excellent guitar work to be found amidst the chaos, but no one, except a die hard Power Metal fan, is likely to put in the effort to find them. I find myself liking as many elements of Carpe Diem as those I dislike, but I can also see myself getting tired of them in fairly short order.
The 3/5 score only applies to fans of happy Power Metal. All others will probably point to Carpe Diem as yet another reason to not like the genre.
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