TypeToronto-based Heavens Fire has returned after several years’ absence, and they come roaring back with “Judgement Day” – a strong, well-crafted album with powerful, classic hard rock tunes, performed with impressive musical flair and sparking with true emotion and spirit.
Heavens Fire is a band that has experienced terrible heartbreak in the past. The band was headed for big things and an extensive world tour some years ago when tragedy struck: original drummer and founding member Mike “Mic Mac” MacKinnon died unexpectedly, leaving his band mates devastated. More tough times followed, putting the band’s career on hold indefinitely. Yet guitarist JT Harris kept working on music through the tough times, and a few years ago he decided to put the band together again.
This time, Heavens Fire is made up of Harris on guitar, Alexis Von Kraven on drums, and Darren Smith (yes, the drummer from Harem Scarem) on vocals. A prime example of what this crew can do is the first track “Screamin’” – a tune that starts off the album in style with some orchestral gloss, heavy riffs that sparkle and shine, crashing drums, and that solid bass pulling you down below. Smith’s vocals add the perfect energy, and really get the passion and power of the lyrics across.
Second track “All For One” is one of my favorites – coming on strong with its hard rocking swagger and tremendous guitar. There’s a darkness bleeding through the music and lyrics here with news-clips about a school shooting passing by, and that darkness gives the tune real depth and urgency. The band delivers the goods again on the emotional power-ballad “Just For Tonight”, and again there’s a raw passion cutting through in the lyrics and music.
The rest of the album is strong too, with working man’s anthem “The Best I Can”, and the rather Van Halen-esque “Free Your Love” as two standouts. Another keeper is “Daydream Believer” with its retro-, nostalgia-flavored sound and a shimmering chorus.
Instrumental tune “187” has a bit of a Dream Theater vibe and yes, that’s a good thing: Von Kraven absolutely kills it on drums here as the guitar wails beautifully through it all. It’s a fierce and ferocious track and I just love it. The band then slams the hard rocking pedal down with the no-holds-barred “Waste Of Life”, before slowing down for the dark and fiery “Blame You”. “Judgement Day” closes out with “Awakened” – a beautiful track that showcases Harris’ inspired guitar work once again.
It’s a joy to hear this re-born band let loose on “Judgement Day”, and they deliver a hard rocking album with depth, power and a brightly burning musical fire. If you appreciate well-made hard rock, then it is well worth checking out.