Umberto Pagnini, who is the creative drive behind Active Heed, shows no signs of stopping. The band’s debut, Visions From Realities, which was released last year, just blew me away and I always knew that this was a band that was soon going to be one of my favorites. Their follow up, shows that Pagnini and his friends, show no sign of stopping for another roller-coaster ride with Higher Dimensions.
Paginini is like a storyteller throughout his lyrics in the realms of science-fiction and fantasy and he knows where he wants the band to almost do a film score and very much like the soundtrack inside your head for the listener to understand. The throttling The War of Tempos provides the heavy guitar and organ introduction thanks to Micro Ravenoldi and Moongarden’s Cristiano Roversi who does an homage to Jon Lord of Deep Purple and his synths and mellotrons can come in handy as Per Fredrik Asly (PelleK) comes in with his amazing vocals to give it that time changing tempo adventure.
Far Escape which contains the mellotron, guitar, and Gian Maria Roveda’s drum work that has some symphonic melodies that reminded me of early Yes, Genesis, and the Time Stand Still-era of Rush while A Little Bit Expired shows their haunting turned uplifting side with folk surroundings, difficult time changes and goes into a venturing flying into the solar systems. Gaps in Time has the foot-stomping acoustic guitar and beat that Ravenoldi does in the style of Peter Gabriel’s debut album as homage to the composition.
It begins with a folk-crisp sunny morning for the yellow bright circle to rise up for a new day as the organ and Per’s voice comes in and the bass drum does the stomping beat along with the guitar comes in and it’s very magical and relaxing. Multiple Replies has this atmospheric/ambient noise on the keyboards done by Roversi that is very moody and soothing. Then, it transforms into an rocking/relaxing sound as Ravenoldi does his Gilmour and Hackett-sque sound that brings the landscapes into the scenery before Roversi comes in and Per as well to give it that ascending climb finale.
“Here it comes God/Calling anywhere with all the signs you can’t imagine.” Per’s voice gives that chilling introduction as the blistering heavy thrash-power metal resembling Metallica, Deep Purple, and Hammerfall comes in with The Number of God and the ominous No Speed Limit as A Pet Called Prime and Kick-Ass Grammar, echoes the Fish-era of Marillion of their golden-era in the ‘80s as if it was left during their sessions for Script for a Jester’s Tear and Fugazi.
Ternary Level One has some of the choral-like sounds from the background vocals and heads back into the heavenly mellotron, organ, synth lush beauty and the folk-like fingerpicking touches on the acoustic guitar along with the roaring chords with an impressive vibe for the transposition of the symphonic rock sounds. The closer, Not Left and Not Taken, opens with the thunderous drum patterns ahead with the blistering guitar riffs, atmospheric keyboards, and soaring turned hard rock unexpected moments by going from relaxing and into driven heavier mode and to give it that adventurous journey to head back home and maybe going for another ride into the cosmos.
This is my 4th listening on Higher Dimensions and Active Heed have show no sign of stopping and they are one of those bands to give the listener some amazing ideas on what you can expect some amazing ideas and this is soon going to be one of my favorite albums so far of 2014. They have a long way to go, but this (Higher Dimensions) along with their debut album (Visions from Realities) is a good start to see where the band and Umberto Pagnini would go to next.