HEIR APPARENT - The View From Below
January 2, 2019, 16 days ago
3/5 of the classic One Small Voice line-up reunited for just the third album in their 30 year history. Somewhere between Rush, Warlord, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory and Queensryche, these Seattle natives offer eight originals that slot close to the mid-tempo prog of their heyday. While the ‘80s material was a little more varied and heavy on the stratospheric vocals, only "Savior" breaks from the gameplan, a speedy, standalone 2:26 proto-thrasher that's a third as long as some others!
That said, while nowhere near as frenetic, the singer does scrape the Heavens, on occasion (see "The Door", which ends with spirited guitar run). The album begins with a voiceover, bemoaning the state of the (American) union: "two politicians arguing over whether science is true. It's the end of an informed democracy". The lyrics are not the typical rock topics: the downfall of mankind, science, with "Man In The Sky", "Insomnia" and "The Road To Palestine" all possessing a religious bent. A piano laden ballad (undercurrent of cello/symphonic strings) at times "Here We Aren't" is only keys and voice. The impetus for poly-rhythmic "Further And Farther" seems to be ‘70s Rush, circa Farewell To Kings and Caress Of Steel, down to the Geddy Lee squeals. A bit too one dimensional for my 2018 tastes (what with the "rocker" appearing midway through the running sequence), but definitely doesn't tarnish the legacy, which in this day and age of many failed reunions, is a rousing endorsement.