With its foundation firmly planted in the power/melodic metal genres, Heaven Rain, hailing from Banja Luka, Bosnia, have their released their debut album entitled Far and Forever. The band consists of Bozidar Sevic (vocals), Igor Paspalj (guitars), Goran Bastinac (keyboards), Bojan Joksic (bass) and Nebojsa Lakic (drums). Bastinac formed the band in 2006 after studying classical music at the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka. Bastinac lists bands like Nightwish and Sonata Arctica as his role models and the new album definitely reflects some of those influences. His keyboard parts have a classical tone which adds to the symphonic nature of the music. Fast powerful riffs, combined with heavy orchestration and progressive metal overtones makes this a solid first album for the band. The band are also able to slow down the pace effectively with quiet interludes that adds to the dramatic nature of the music.
Most of the songs are in the 4 to 5 minute range with the longest clocking in at 6 minutes. This is a short and concise album with no wasted space. The musicianship is solid and the band is capable of some pretty mean shredding. I would have liked the band to stretch themselves a little farther and tried their hand at writing a longer composition, perhaps even an epic. The music presented here would benefit from more instrumental interplay that a longer composition would provide. This is only a suggestion however, as I still very much enjoyed this album.
The album opens with two instrumentals that demonstrate the musical chops the band possesses. "Before…" starts the proceedings with lots of keys and dramatic guitar. This is a short piece ending with the sounds of a thunderstorm, which leads directly into the second cut "Rain Will Fall Again". This is an up-tempo number with speedy guitar riffs and nice keys, having a Dream Theater feel to it. The vocals do not start until the album's third song, a solid slice of melodic metal with catchy guitar and keyboard riffs. Sevic has a pleasing voice; not outstanding but quite effective with nary a trace of an accent that I could detect. He never tries to over-sing with high pitched wailing thus never straining his voice.
I really like how the band is able to slow down the tempo and inflect quiet musical interludes into some of the songs. "Final Point" starts with some fast riffage but slows down with a melodic keyboard part which is quite nice. The album ends with the poignant instrumental "Letter". Starting with the simulated sounds of war and a beautiful, somber piano melody this one really creates a strong atmosphere. A short, heartfelt guitar solo follows. The lyric booklet contains a touching letter written by a soldier to his sweetheart providing insight into the song.
This is solid debut album from a promising young band. If you appreciate melodic/power metal with leanings to the progressive end of the spectrum this one will be right up your alley and should be a safe recommendation.
2) Rain Will Fall Again
3) Beauty Of You
4) Go Away
5) Can't Stay
6) Final Point
7) Never Give You Away
8) Far And Forever