Sunday, January 20, 2013

Heavatar - Opus I - All My Kingdoms

Heavatar might just be the worst band name I’ve ever come across. It seems like it’s meant to be a cross between heavy and guitar, but it sounds like a dinosaur to me. In spite of that, the band do their best to make “Opus I – All My Kingdoms” a true power metal opus. Before getting into the album, it’s worth noting the fantastic musicians who work on this record. Jorg Michael, who just quit Stratovarius, has found another project where he can show off his frightening skill. His work on “Elysium” was brilliant, and he follows that up quite well here. The other main musician on this record is vocalist and guitarist Stefan Schmidt (Van Canto). His voice is a deep bass that is very uncommon in power metal, not unlike Joakim Broden (Sabaton). This unique approach makes for a record that is bound to stick in your mind immediately.

Heavatar’s biggest strength is the diversity in their songwriting. Each song is specifically crafted to give a different vibe from the last. Some tracks will give you pounding anthems - not unlike Manowar and HammerFall – while others have the huge Blind Guardian-like choirs. Ultimately, however, “Opus I – All My Kingdoms” is an album driven by Heavatar’s love of classical music. Supposedly every song is based off a different classical tune, and you’ll definitely recognize a few melodies here and there. With that said, these songs are all completely original (at least to my ears). There is the stomping and heavy “Born to Fly”, the neoclassical Rhapsody of Fire-esque song, “Replica”, and the ironically not so metal ballad “To The Metal”. Many will notice that “The Look Above” is quite lengthy, at 11 minutes; however, it doesn’t feel that way at all. In fact, this song seems just like every other song. The length isn’t noticeable at all. With that said, the song doesn’t feel as epic as other 10+ minute power metal songs. The only real weakspot in the writing is “Luna! Luna!”. The chorus is more annoying than enjoyable, but it’s possible that in time, it will grow on you. After several listens, I can say it hasn’t reached that point for me. Most of the other songs will stick with you after a couple of listens, but their quality varies. Ultimately, it comes down to how catchy the chorus is, which benefits some songs ("Elysium At Dawn") and hurts other ("Abracadabra")

Opus I – All My Kingdoms” is certainly a worthwhile, unique record. It probably won’t blow you away, but Heavatar does their best to leave you with memorable, songs that don’t sound like one giant blur. This is one record not to overlook this year!

Be sure to check out and like Heavatar on Facebook!

"Elysium At Dawn"
"Born To Fly"
"To The Metal"

Final Rating
4.0/5 or 80%. 

Written by Scott