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Heavenly – Dust To Dust


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No one saw this one coming. After two catchy-as-all-hell (but derivative) albums, Heavenly quietly released this utterly original and unceasingly powerful concept album. So what's changed? Well for one thing, this is a real concept album. Not just two or three songs about something similar, attached to a handful of songs with unlikely titles. From the first note to the last this one tells a vampire tale which renders good versus evil into a universal struggle for the human soul. Songwriter Ben Sotto has developed his English a little bit more, but he's not about to start writing novels. Musically though, this is the stuff of metal opera. Not that what you're getting is symphonises for the sake of symphonic. On the contrary, the scale here has nothing to do with inviting the choir and orchestra from some place that routinely issues travel warnings. If anything gives 'Dust to Dust' an incredible and indelible scale, it's the soaring melodies and speed/power metal song structures. Strictly speaking there are 13 tracks on this album. There are easily enough hooks for 3 times that number of songs. So what Sotto does instead is single-handedly reinvent prog metal even though this isn't a strictly prog metal album. Deep down everyone knows prog is the jazz take on metal, with everyone in the band making it up as they go along in the hope that a melody might turn up sooner or later. There are more melodies in the album opener ('Evil') than you might hope for by song 8 on your average release. Track 3 is called 'Lust for life', and is one of those anthems that turns up and hangs around in your head for months afterwards. The very next song 'Victory (Creatures of the night)' is more of the same. And by the time you reach the closing few tracks, you just know you wandered into a metal foundry without knowing it. Just for the record, the effect isn't achieved by steroid injecting 3 minute pop songs (the conventional keyboard band approach); the majority of songs clock in at around the 6 minute mark with shredding galore, and a double-kick that sounds like the guy on skins has got a hot date straight after the recording session. For a band that's had certain identity issues (3 logos later and counting – it still doesn't work, and a line-up that keeps doing the metal thing to do, plus enough label hopping to make you sea sick), here's an album that not only puts them on the map – it raises a whole new continent. This album is that good. Track listing: 1. Ashes To Ashes 2. Evil 3. Lust For Life 4. Victory (Creatures Of The Night) 5. Illusion Part I 6. Illusion Part II (The Call Of The Wild) 7. The Ritual 8. Keepers Of The Earth 9. Miracle 10. Fight For Deliverance 11. Hands Of Darkness 12. Kingdom Come 13. Dust To Dust

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