Review Summary: nu-metal bands could learn something from HeavensDust.
HeavensDust’s original intent was to create a sound that no other band could make, and they succeeded. The combination of nu-metal and classical Japanese instrumentation is rare at best, and comparing any vaguely similar band is impossible. Kazha’s vocals can be reminiscent of Amy Lee and Cristina Scabbia occasionally, but this is accidental, and mostly because of her gothic intonation. HeavensDust follows the path of a mainstream nu-metal band, and has viciously heavy guitars, superb songwriting, and a commanding grandiose.
HeavensDust not only has the typical metal/rock setup, but they also use a classic Japanese harp, flute, and drum (the Wadaiko). Adding these untypical instruments gives it an aura of mystery, and often, beauty. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the band is their ability to seamlessly combine these classic instruments with modern instruments. The band members play their respective Japanese instruments as if they have played them their entire life. None of it seems gimmicky or overly cheesy; instead, the album actually succeeds at having an epic quality because of their experimentation with these instruments.
“Without A Voice” is incredibly consistent. The reason for this flow is found in the unity between Kazha and Shin. Kazha provides alluring vocals, and Shin compliments it with ugly grunts similar to Clint Boke’s from The Butterfly Effect (when they played nu-metal). ‘Insanity’ finds this stride with Shin blasting out catchy vocal hooks and Kazha’s vocals soaring over it. ‘Insanity’ also highlights one of the band’s strongest points: percussion. Here, the Wadaiko is synced so well with the drum kit that it sounds like the same drum. All in all, HeavensDust knows how to write good songs. The songs almost always have massive guitar hooks, as heard in ‘Life to Dawn’, or stunning vocals, as heard in ‘Away From God’. Even the two instrumental intros provide the perfect dosage of anticipation before blazing guitars disrupt the peace.
The sonic wall of electric guitars is impressive but also suffocating. Whenever they blaze, everything is pushed back to the point where they become an indistinguishable mess. In fact, the sound quality and balance for the entire album is dismal. The drum kit sounds horrible, the Wadaiko is often over-shadowed, and even the guitars can sound atrocious. Although the sound quality is not completely hopeless, it certainly is unnerving. The band desperately needs a label to back them up, and considering the strange accessibility of HeavensDust’s music, any record company would collect massive amounts of cash by signing them.
If you dislike angst in nu-metal, there are still soft, beautiful songs that provide a much-needed break from the onslaught of excessive noise. “Sound Of A Tear Drop” is one of these songs, as it slowly builds up with a single-hit on the low tom almost every ten seconds. Soon, a muted guitar, female vocals, a flute, the wadaiko, a piano, and even clean male vocals are delicately added to the beating heart. Although Shin’s singing is rather poor, his lack-luster vocals add a pleasing amount of depression to the music. Other delicate tunes include ‘Awaken’ and ‘Fate’. Of the two songs, ‘Fate’ is the victor, from the inclusion of captivating piano and harp.
HeavensDust’s only real goal was to create something different, but they definitely succeeded. More importantly, they did this without worshiping themselves; the band is unselfish, and will do everything to please their fans no matter how long it takes. The only down-side of the band is that the sound-quality of their material is consistently poor. However, if this can be forgiven, “Without A Voice” should remain an enjoyable album.