“Heavenly Realms” is album number two for Australian power metal group Horizons Edge. Don’t let the fact that the band is unsigned fool you, this is very impressive power metal that is sure to please fans of the subgenre. The band’s approach is not unique, but it is effective. Relying on pleasing, soaring melodies, uptempo songs, and wild vocals, Horizons Edge knows what works. Though they should not be classified as a progressive band, they do have some of those tendencies. Sometimes the melodies are a little stranger, or a bit more out there, but this prevents the band from sounding strictly like a combination of power metal tropes.
The main factor that will make you love or hate this album is the vocals of Kat Sproule. To be clear, she has a good voice, but it isn’t always used as effectively as it could be. She definitely suffers from not restraining her voice, and instead hitting notes at her will. Still though, she comes up with some pretty catchy vocal lines, and songs like “Vagabond”, and especially “Ride The Stars” will be stuck in your head for a while. The latter song in particular is the most effective on the album because it is a high-speed affair, not unlike something I would expect from a band such as Gamma Ray (with lower-pitched vocals, of course) or Keldian.
One song deserving of special mention is the cover of Gown's “Head Honcho”. If you’re anything like me, you probably had no idea who this band is. In fact, after doing some research, I’m still not sure I’m on the right track here, but Gown is a band that appeared in the movie “Hot Rod” (one of my favourite movies ever), featuring members of Queens of the Stone Age. The song they play in the movie is an 80s hair metal-styled anthem, which is precisely what Horizons Edge covers here. As a sucker for that style of metal, this cover is incredible, and quite possibly the best part of the record. Its melodies are killer, and the chorus is absurdly memorable.
On the whole, “Heavenly Realms” is an album that displays how well-versed in power metal Horizons Edge is. The band could benefit from tightening up the songwriting a little bit, and even the mix (the vocals feel very distant), but overall, this record succeeds in doing what it set out to.
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"Ride The Stars"
4.1/5 or 82%.
Written by Scott