It’s been 29 years since their last album ‘One Small Voice’, that album in itself was a complete contrast to the near perfect debut of ‘Graceful Inheritance’ released in 1986, a whole two years before another band made a massive statement with ‘Operation Mindcrime’. Coincidentally, ‘The View from Below’ has some links which will be expanded upon later, but what I am trying to say is that within this field there were two bands making a real statement. One was unfortunate with their timing and luck, the other, well, we know the story. I was lucky enough to witness Heir Apparent in Germany a couple of years ago playing one of those sets and shows that will stick with you forever, a truly magical experience. So when this album came up, it was taken with great excitement in the hope that previous experience transpired to the new album.
‘The View From Below’ is more on par with their last album ‘One Small Voice’, a pure progressive metal juggernaut. In association with the group, Terry Hall produced this album (noted for Queensrÿche releases ‘Queensrÿche’, ‘Empire’ and this band’s debut album ‘Graceful Inheritance’). Thus, it has near flawless production. Every single aspect of the bands vision has been captured and presented in full glory. I always thought ‘One Small Voice’ suffered in the production stakes and was a touch quiet, not so here in 2018. Song wise, you pretty much gather zero momentum apart from ‘Savior’, however, the quality is redeemable. With vocalist Will Shaw in tow, some of the notes obtained are breath taking which is especially highlighted during ‘The Door’. ‘Man in the Sky’ battles with science and religion, whilst ‘The Road to Palestine’ continues on a particular path. Not that I really go into the lyrics too much in reviews, as each to their own interpretation seems to work out best. Lyrically the album is very thought provoking and shows wonderful imagination.
I haven’t really pinpointed any major standout tracks, as an album, it’s very similar. My only wish is that some of the tracks were a touch faster; I do find the overall tempo labouring. That said, lovers of this pure progressive metal style will truly rejoice in the bands vision and dexterity when it comes to putting the arrangements together. If there were bands wanting to know how to nail a progressive metal album, then this is a good starting point. My love for this band is firmly planted in their debut from ’86, however, Heir Apparent are a different breed now as they were 29 years ago, a group of damn fine talented individuals who make songs that some can only dream of. Overall, this is a pure class driven release, a welcomed return from a band that deserves more recognition than many others that came from the same City. ‘The View from Below’ is one of the most competent playbacks of recent times in the field of progressive metal.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)