Amen! Heart of Cygnus are back with maximum volume and made a kick-ass second album that almost has a resemblance crossover of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy meets Conan The Barbarian meets Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson doing the narration rock opera style. That and their second album, Over Mountain, Under Hill is one hell of a ride. And you know what? It’s really fucking awesome! And this is a sneak preview. The two members Jeff Lane and Jim Nahikian got this album rolling like a flaming torch that won’t burn away. I imagine them in their early teens playing Dungeons and Dragons while listening to bands and albums like; Rush's A Farewell To Kings, Uriah Heep's Demons and Wizards, Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and Led Zeppelin's ZOSO to get the concept of what they were about to do. In the early days, Concept Albums were considered dull and naff. To me, it isn’t naff, it’s perfect storytelling and of course what they did, is bring it back to the dead and prove that the Concept genre isn’t going away.
It’s Heart of Cygnus’ credit that they decided to make it sound so epic and very Metal without any gigantic record companies telling them to go mainstream or go on dare I say MTV. What I’m saying is you just don’t listen to Over Mountain, Under Hill – you are watching a movie with a heavy band that you admire by putting on your headset and seeing the gorefests going one on one by duking it out and its like that either Steve Harris or Alex Lifeson are giving the dosage up to 100 and making your head explode like a motherfucker. The songs that are about 8, 9, and 6-minutes long to make it a perfect Progressive Metal album, simply kick ass!
When the songs and one instrumental pieces work, they work like a gem. Lost At Sea is Heart of Cygnus at their dramatic and dynamic moments ever, featuring Jeff Lane doing his shredded guitar and bass work and the 15th century lyrics seem to fit perfectly for lost one to be remembered (Will you say a prayer for me my love/when I’m lost, I’m lost at sea/When the waves are far too great, my love/Will you say a prayer for me?). And then it becomes an aftermath of the fallen comrades who fought tooth and nail, dies in the bottomless ocean along with the ship that becomes almost Folky thrash metal (The ship and all her men are gone, taken by the deep/And I along have tried to tell my soul still lost at sea) Now before you rip anything off as if to think that its just another prog metal band, think again, this is the real deal right here.
You’ll be surprised to hear some homage’s to Thrash and conceptual explosive pieces that will make you bang your head to. Erik is a shredded masterpiece that have has a slice of British Heavy Metal that is almost similar to the guitar sounds of Queen’s Father to Son and Ogre Battle that almost sounded to pay tribute Queen’s A Night at the Opera meets Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime. Blue Planet is almost a ballad filled with melodic guitar sounds and it’s the first time Lane sings beautifully like a god coming down from the heavens to call out her love. The Mountain King starts off as a mourning classical guitar solo and then it becomes very King Crimson meets Dream Theater like sound in a proggish way and then it becomes a beautiful mellotronic statement.
Which just leaves the bonus track of their take of Iron Maiden’s Revelation’s. If you’re looking for a tribute to the homage of NWOBHM and Viking Rock Opera’s, this is it!
Looks like Jeff and Jim want to show how much they really love Iron Maiden and paying tribute to Bruce Dickinson in a heartfelt way.
And if this shows that there’s more coming up in the mountains of Valhalla, there’s no stopping now. Not ever and No fucking way.