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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Heaven - Bent (AKA Twilight of Mischief)

Name: Heaven
Album: Bent (AKA Twilight of Mischief)
Year: 1982
Style: Heavy Metal
Similar Bands: AC/DC, Def Leppard, Ratt
"One-Word" Review: Metal Dylan
Based Out Of: Sydney, Australia
Label: Brighton Records, Columbia
Bent - Cover & Record
Bent - Back & Record

Bent (1982)
  1. Fantasy 3:20
  2. Nothing To Lose 3:28
  3. Take You Higher 3:33
  4. Storm 2:57
  5. One Nighter 2:54/
  6. In The Beginning 3:58
  7. No One Knows 2:45
  8. The Ballad 5:52
  9. Get a Move On 4:15
  10. Suck City 4:19
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Allan Fryer - Vocals (Chumalucy, Fat Lip, Heroes)
Kelly Bradford - Guitars (Swanne)
Mick Cocks - Guitars (Rose Tattoo)
Laurie Marlow - Bass (Almost Human)
Joe Turtur - Drummer (Fat Lip)
John Bee - Producer, Engineer
Kevin Stanton - Producer
Richard Lush - Engineer
Michael A Browning - Management

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. From the looks of them, they will probably be a hair band from the 80’s. The question is: how heavy is it? Will it be really heavy like Priest of Maiden or sorta poppy-light like Journey or Extreme? Or will they perhaps in the middle like Angel City or Axe. I do appreciate their wardrobe, of jeans and chaps and big belts and bigger hair, which usually denotes dirty, slightly homo-erotic metal. The logo of an arc angel grasping a sword through the name Heaven is kinda cool looking, so if nothing more, that is worth buying the album. Oh, and they have a song called The Ballad. I wonder how that one sounds…

Album Review: Reading about these guys I discovered that they were from Australia, almost didn’t happen because of AC/DC lead singer recruitment in 1980, and partied hard with the early stages of Motley Crue. With all those elements of metal, their first track “Fantasy” kicks off with a AC/DC style shredding guitar and a steady, driving drum beat. The vocals are similar to, but less screechy than Bon Scott. They sound a bit like Def Leppard. It builds up to a chorus that feels like it should be Hells Bells. It’s funny though, the metal guitar almost sounds like Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing.” “Nothing To Lose” is a dirty, head banging trebly shredding number. The vocals are even a bit like Rod Stewart if he decided to sing metal. It possesses a non-stop stomp-momentum drum beat, and I can barely pick out the bass. The breakdown is great. Heavy driving guitars give way to screeching whiny guitars and bridge right into the verse. It is a clean and crisp organized song. More driving guitar and drums begin the fast paced “Take You Higher.” It is a bunch of simple short lyrical verses and a repetitive chorus while power chords carry the listener through to the lead guitar solos. It ends with a chaotic build up of instruments speeding to the finish line and a drum kick wind down. “Storm” is all bass and drums at the outset, with AC/DC like guitars filling out the song, over the top. The song feels like it is all verse, even the chorus feels like it is building to a catchier chorus, while where the chorus should be, turns out to be an instrumental section. Heavy guitars and cymbals begin “One Nighter,” which feels very dark, like a Sabbath song. But his vocals are high enough to shed any darkness that the music brings. The vocals are not really all that good, but they have the energy needed for metal.

“In The Beginning” features guitar effects, shredding up and down the fret board finally achieving a “Fight For Your Right to Party” style song. The normally controlled high vocals go slightly out of control at times in this song, trying to prove their rashness, but just sound unskilled. It fades out with a chant & response of the chorus and the chanting background “there was rock and roll.” It is kind of cool, in a Twisted Sister way. “No One Knows” is a driving song, with a true, natural hook in the chorus. It comes very close to a pop hook, but it sails wide midway through the hook, and curves away from pop to metal. But that is a good thing for the song. And the mystery song, “The Ballad,” what could it possibly be? Could it be the monster ballad of the album? Of course it is. It begins quietly, Journeyish even. The guitars bang on around 1:20, but they keep up with the slow head nodding, droning pace. Part one of the ballad ends in silence after 2:30, and part two begins with a lamenting guitar lead which transitions into another section of calm and collected verse. That ends in silence after 1:40, and the vocals come back quietly again and theatrically blast into slow heavy rock stratosphere of emotion and pining. It winds down slowly and quietly as it began, but with a shimmering cymbal. “Get a Move On” brings us back to the melodic metal front. It is not that heavy, but it is more rock in the melody. The production is trying to be heavy, but the song is much more melodic. There is some group chanting of the chorus which harkens back to angry teens, but it is short lived and doesn’t pack a growling punch. It fades out and the final song, “Suck City” comes on with fuzzy metal guitars. When he says “we’re looking for trouble” I just don’t believe it. The way he ends some of his verses, the notation he uses, actually reminds me of how people mock Dylan’s delivery: as if that was done in a Metal Style. Sure the title of the song is a little juvenile, but it is as “powerful” as any of the other songs, and again feels like it is gonna launch into Hells Bells. I do know more AC/DC songs than that one, but that’s just the same tempo as much of their songs.

Stand Out Track: No One Knows

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