Montreal’s Heaven’s Cry initially formed in the early 1990s, eventually recording Food For Thought Substitute in 1996. After releasing it in Japan, then Europe and Canada, the band headed through some line-up changes and released another album. The ever-evolving progressive metal act found themselves touring Canada in support of bands like the legendary Anvil and Nightwish.
Now, after a seven-year hiatus, Heaven’s Cry is back with a new album and new designs on delivering the proggy goods.
Founding members Pierre St-Jean (vocals, guitars) and Sylvain Auclair (vocals, bass) still form the one-two punch fans are used to, while Eric Jarrin (guitars) and René Lacharité (drums), who joined in 2000, fill out the details.
It’s hard to say much about Heaven’s Cry, as there are only two albums to draw on and a lot of history has passed since they last tackled Canada’s progressive rock scene. The metal scene of the Great White North has never really played by the rules in the first place, with bands like Voivod and the aforementioned Anvil carving their niches well.
Heaven’s Cry may not fit in the same pantheon of Canadian progressive metal, but their Wheels of Impermanence does make for an interesting listen. The new record takes chances, unafraid of playing fast and loose with time signatures and venturing down some unorthodox roads. Through it all, the Quebec quartet maintains a keen energy that helps drive the material home.
First out of the magic box is “Empire’s Doll,” a sweeping and cinematic number that opens with a swoop of strings and some loose guitar. Power chords drill away the synthesizer and piles of forceful riffs drive in over Lacharité’s technical drumming. It’s a satisfying intro that seems tailored for an expansive light show.
“The Hollow” once again features prominent keyboards and makes good use of atmosphere, powering big meaty riffs into the blend while St-Jean’s mid-range vocals cascade through some goofy lyrics.
Another curveball is found on “Consequence,” a deft piece that opens with Auclair’s vigorous bass, Lacharité on wood-blocks and a saxophone at just the right moment. And the instrumental closer “A Glimpse of Hope” shows off Heaven’s Cry’s technical chops in one more tour de force.
Never content to colour within the lines, Heaven’s Cry manages to enthral and entertain with their latest recording. Wheels of Impermanence may not always break new ground, but it takes just enough chances to cement itself as a stimulating and interesting piece of work.