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HeKz: Caerus

Tabula Rasa announced the arrival of UK Prog Metal four-piece HeKz in some style, a base of Progressive Metal values delivered with the power and force of Judas Priest and the precision of Riverside. Caerus continues that journey, a similar framework refined for the ever vital album number two and if there was ever any doubt that these young lads could reach similar heights, then they're dispelled in grand style.

Expanded into a quintet through the addition of keyboard player James Messenger (an astute move), the sound on this second helping is broader, richer and yet no less vital in impact. These are thin lines HeKz are walking and yet their own personal balancing act is made to look as simple as crossing the street in a long forgotten town at two in the morning. However there's no danger of tumbleweed here, each of the nine songs worthy of and able to hold the attention. A mix of mini-epics and shorter, more concise tracks are mastered and displayed with equal ease, "Liberation" a seething mass of guitar, keys and drums, "Disconnect The World" a judder of changing time signatures, Hammond and layered backing vocals. "The Left Hand Of God" is reliant on vocalist Matt Young, who also handles bass, to lead from the front as an urgency and power rushes forth to knock you from your feet - this man can sing and yet for some his theatric roar and almost too easy style may take some getting used to, although perseverance pays serious dividends, as he proves here. These shorter (three to six minutes) songs all somehow seem to carry a myriad of ideas and attacks; ever changing and yet never too busy, always stretching and yet never too far from from reach.

However it is the longer emissions such as the scintillating "Homo Ex Machina", which could easily be a muscular movie soundtrack, that somehow manages to marry Dream Theater, Haken, Iron Maiden and Queen which really hit the mark. Mad that may sound but glorious are the results, as they are on atmospherically threatening "Journey's End" where almost Mike Oldfield piano builds into operatic hammering of string infused Metal. It's a stunning close to an excellent album, just as "Progress And Failure" is an intriguing, yet surprisingly accessible opening. Guitarists Alastair Beveridge and Tom Smith are a mighty pair, yet teamed with Kirk Brandham's captivating drumming (his ability to bring light and shade, bombast and intricacy marks him out as a drummer of frightening skill), Young's bass work and the addition of Messnger on keys, the duo are allowed the time and space to really illustrate their powers.

The Progressive and Metal genres are littered with one album wonders and "whatever happened to them" acts. HeKz however are here for the long haul. Two albums in and they're already pushing bands like Threshold for the title of UK Progressive Metal masters. If that isn't a compliment, then I don't know what is.


Track Listing
1. PROGRESS & FAILURE
2. LIBERATION
3. DISCONNECT THE WORLD
4. FROM OBSCURITY TO ETERNITY
5. THE BLACK HAND
6. KINGDOM
7. THE LEFT HAND OF GOD
8. HOMO EX MACHINA
9. JOURNEY'S END?

Added: February 1st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Caerus at Cherry Red
Hits: 1827
Language: english

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