Review Summary: Comfort is the enemy.
Considering their talent and quality of output, Heir Apparent could and should have been much bigger. Hailing from the city that spawned a number of bands wrongfully accused of killing metal in the ‘90s, their music has always been compared to the early work of some of the most significant progressive metal bands out there such as Queensryche and Fates Warning. Of course, they didn’t copy the aforementioned forefathers of progressive metal; according to guitar player and founding member Terry Gorle, they were merely influenced by the same legends such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio-Sabbath, Dio-Rainbow, and Pink Floyd, among others. Their debut is considered a US metal classic, before adopting a more progressive-oriented sound on One Small Voice
, while both featured different vocalists.
The View from Below
is Heir Apparent’s third studio album, comes just short of 30 years after their sophomore effort and it’s the very definition of “better late than never”. In a nutshell, the music contained sounds like classic mid-‘80s progressive metal. However, these guys have built a great platform on which their (third) vocalist shines. Feelings of sadness, anguish, anxiety, fear, and anger are felt throughout without even having to read the lyrics. Just listen to the immediacy of “The Door” or the rhetorical questions on the epic “The Road to Palestine”. However, the songwriting is so solid that it doesn’t feel right to proclaim Will Shaw’s performance as the highlight here. Guitarist Terry Gorle’s playing is so focused and varied that brings to mind David Gilmour or Jim Matheos. Furthermore, the album’s sound has a cool old-school vibe which is quite logical considering that it was produced by Tom Hall who had also worked with the band on their first two albums in addition to a few Queensryche LPs.
To sum up, the fact that these guys managed to produce such a great result with all the bumps in their road and the state of the music business today, is nothing short of surprising. The View from Below
is an ideal point of entry to a noteworthy discography that every power-prog fan should check.