|Review: Heathen - Recovered|
Year released: 2004
Review online: November 11, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (12 Votes)
I first thought this was a comeback album by Heathen, but that's not exactly it. The album is well-named since it contains 4 covers (out of 9 tracks) and the other songs were written back in 1992 but were left unfinished until the band decided to recover them from their archives in 2003. There is one new song, "In Memory Of...", a ballad dedicated to former band member Randy Laird and his girlfriend, as well as lead vocal David White's brother Jeffrey who (from what I understand) died in an accident in 1991. In fact this is the the only song for which the lyrics are printed in the very thin booklet. That said, this is a very touching ballad whose highlights are the lyrics and vocal lines.
When I first heard the album opener, I was a bit taken aback and immediately thought this sounded like Queen. Well, no shit, Sherlock - it's a Queen cover. Of the first five songs, four are covers with "In Memory Of..." stuck in the middle. The only song I was really familiar with is Tygers of Pan Tang's "Hellbound", and Heathen did a good job giving it a harder, slightly thrashy edge. I find the album starts pretty weakly, the first three songs being way too poppy and accessible: You have to wait until the fourth song to start getting your ass kicked, but from there it doesn't stop. Their older songs (tracks 6 to 9) have a definitive mid-80s Metallica influence in the riffs, a mix of both Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets (one of the songs has a passage suspiciously similar to a passage on "Damage Inc.") The sound is more diversified and more melodic, especially in the vocal lines at times. But one can't help but think of the aforementioned Metallica albums while listening to these four songs, that's for sure. I like the guitar sound on those albums, so I am sure not complaining about hearing something similar but with a different overall sound.
One can question the placement of the first two covers - not only they don't make good openers, but they are way too poppy to fit in with the rest of the songs presented here. Maybe a different track order would have made them fit better in here, but then again I like having all the kickass songs (4 to 9) all in a row. A good dose of speed/thrash from a band that gave us some good stuff back in the days, definitely worth checking out for fans of the genre.
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