Heir Apparent - One Small Voice (Metal Blade) 1989
"One Small Voice" is majestic, galloping heavy metal in the tradition of bands like Crimson Glory, early Queensryche, Veni Domine and Siam. The band sports stellar musicianship, clean operatic vocals, shredding guitar solos, deep atmospheric keyboards and a good variation in tempos and riffs from song to song. In other words, Heir Apparent know how to show off their abilities while at the same time not forsaking good hooks and songwriting. Actually these guys ride the fence between what would now be called progressive metal and power metal. "Crossing the Border" even borders on speed metal with it's fast pace and ferocious guitar riffs. A big part of the attraction here is Steve Benito's phenomenal voice. Some singers, when singing and screaming in those high falsetto voices sound strained and unnatural. Benito, however, sounds as smooth as silk. His high Geoff Tate inspired vocals soar over top the heavy guitar riffs and pummeling drums. The aforementioned "Crossing the Border" is a standout cut. "Alone Again" is an emotional ballad that fits into the mix quite nicely. "We the People" takes on an almost AOR-like quality because of the keys, which are a bit more out front here than in other songs. "Screaming" is one of my favorite songs with it's infectious chorus and mid-paced Queensryche-like metal vibe. However, there really isn't a bad song on this disc. The only song that really sticks out as unnecessary is "Sound of Silence", which is a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic. Actually I do like this song as well, but it just seems a little out of place on this disc sandwiched between two excellent Heir Apparent originals. Overall, "One Small Voice" is a solid slab of heavy metal that I highly recommend. Apparently this CD has been rereleased once since it's original release on Metal Blade/Capitol Records. The rerelease sports a slightly altered cover. The cover pictured above is the original cover.
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