In Heaven’s Eyes – Salvation
Christian metal has always been a topic of massive debate. Whether it is the idea of spreading a message that’s religious and positive through a genre that has been known for reasons quite the opposite, or just the fact that it takes on a responsibility that a majority of metalheads would not appreciate, it still makes this sub-genre a topic of conflicting opinions.
But of course, music is one of the most effective ways to get people’s attention, and some of them do like to use it as a means to their preachy ends. So judging the concept of Christian metal is something that shall be left for the insatiable forum wars (and sometimes as in my case, the comments section of this website). I shall begin the review with a disclaimer that the following album has been reviewed primarily for its musical content, and not much else.
In Heaven’s Eyes is a band that hails from Chennai, and came together in 2009 when the members from Battalions (Chennai) and Onslaught (Hyderabad) came together. They recently released ‘Salvation’, a full length debut album via CD Rack.in and Roadcrew Records. The band brings in a mix of metalcore and thrash, with a combination of clean vocals and growls.
“Purge your soul” opens with gentle guitars, and then progresses into a heavier tune. The vocals periodically switch from being clean, and slightly of the yearning sorts, to growls. “Jesus Power” is one of the more completely heavy songs on the album, and “Return to Reality” is an attempt at being purely melodic. The last quarter of the track turns the focus on the lead guitar and the double bass, and is one of the album’s highs. However, the vocalist who does justice to the gutturals fails when he tries his hand at singing. At moments, it almost seems like he’s unable to sustain a steady tune. Here, the seconds don’t help either. It’s close to inaudible, and the few times you can actually hear the other voice, it doesn’t seem to blend at all.
“Son’s hymn” and “The cleansing” are passable tunes, and fail to make an impression. This is followed by “Walls of Jericho”, one of the better songs on the album. In terms of composition, it breaks the pattern that you think has just started to form by this time on ‘Salvation’. This song has a good pace, a great riff and sharp drumming as well. This is also when I actually realized that the bass guitar hadn’t made its presence felt, and I actually Googled to check if the band had a bass player or not. Finally, the title track “Salvation” brings in the march-rhythmed riffs and double bass, making it an easily headbangable tune. A predictable crowd favourite for sure.
In Heaven’s Eyes’ ‘Salvation’ is not a top scoring album, but there is potential. Vocals need some serious tweaking- both in terms of concept and production. The frontman is great with growls, so he needs to stay loyal to that alone, and transfer the singing to someone else, or drop the cleans all together. In terms of sound, levels are a little messy, and could do with rework. The instrumentation is good, but all of it loses a chance to shine because of the production. However, I must admit that I haven’t seen the band perform live, so I judge purely on the basis of the album. And yet, I won’t dismiss them entirely. This is just a debut, and they are very capable of bringing out a kickass follow-up soon. In Heaven’s Eyes has the makings of a good band, but the mistake they made with ‘Salvation’ is that they hurried up and came out with a mediocre album, instead of sharpening their material and bringing out something praiseworthy probably a few months later.
To sum up, ‘Salvation’ is not much beyond average. It is very likely that the album will get lost in the plethora of other independent releases of the year. But personally, I hope the band doesn’t, and that they shape up their act and come back into action with better stuff on their platter soon. That’s when real salvation would come into play!