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Heel - 2009 Chaos And Greed

ALBUM: Chaos And Greed
LABEL: Rivel Records
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: David Henriksson - lead vocals * Marcus Elisson - lead guitars, backing vocals * Magnus Öberg - bass * David Jonasson - keyboards * Alexander Gustavsson - drums

Additional Musicians: Rickard Oberg - keyboards * Ola Halen (Insania), Tommy Johansson (Reinxeed) - backing vocals * Janne Westerlund - flute on 'Did You Know'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Chaos And Greed * 02 Crusader * 03 Did You Know * 04 Taste Of Steel * 05 Sons Of Thunder * 06 Forbidden Ways * 07 Kingdom Comes * 08 Light Of Day * 09 Save Our Souls * 10 This Angel Cry * 11 Gold And Glory * 12 Walk To The Light * 13 Land Of Freedom



Sweden pumps out yet another prog metal outfit called Heel, who come at you in a similar vein to all those who have gone before. Names thrown into the hat include Dragonland, Dionysus, Cloudscape and more recently Coldspell. Heel aren't a new band, they did release their debut 'Evil Days' back in 2007. It was an album we failed to catch up with during 2007, but not so second time around. Heel, named after the two lead lights of the band David Henriksson (HE) and Marcus Elisson (EL) is a pretty tasty affair, with excursions into progressive metal and symphonic metal territories. Considering the Rivel Records connection, many of their past roster have dipped into these battlegrounds as well, so do we also assume that Heel touch on Christian elements too? Certainly the song titles would lead you to believe so.

The Songs
Currently I'm not spending a lot of time listening to power/prog metal stuff (it's just a seasonal thing.. don't worry, I haven't lost my enthusiasm!), so I had to make a few aural adjustments upon listening to 'Chaos And Greed'. Upon first listen, I thought the overall sound was quite coarse (particularly Elisson's guitar tone), though the vocal harmonies and keyboards did their best to smooth off the rough edges. Heel deliver thirteen tracks, all varied with tonal, stylistic and tempo contrasts throughout. It's a fairly weighty album timewise, at just over 70 minutes playing time, with most of the songs in the 5 minute region, with the exception of the shorter time slices given to 'Crusader' and 'Land Of Freedom'. Cherry picking some of these songs - 'Taste Of Steel' is a fast paced romp with Dragonland and Richard Andersson's Space Odyssey neo classical flavoured keyboard parts. 'Did You Know' is quite mellow compared to the rest of the material - more like melodic hard rock, while 'Forbidden Ways' is rampant and rollicking metal with kick drums on double time. 'Sons Of Thunder' and 'Kingdom Comes' grind away in the heaviest of fashion, but sometimes it's not all about speed that makes a song stand out. Try the intense 'This Angel Cry' or 'Walk To The Light' which fuses power and density.

In Summary
'Chaos And Greed' probably has one or two songs too many for my liking. It's a pretty intense CD all round, which probably needed an acoustic piece to soften things, because the album has the impact of a sledgehammer, which is something I don't think the band were aiming for. Still, the musicianship is pretty amazing, my only gripe being the over-distorted guitar sound which tends to dominate the album, and the over-abundance of pinch harmonics on just about every riff being played - something that fellow Swedes Cloudscape could be accused of doing. I will admit that 'Chaos And Greed' won't be on my playlist for too long, but I expect to come back to it and refamiliarise with it at a later stage.

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