about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_heavatar_opusiallmykingdoms001006.jpg
‘Opus I – All My Kingdoms’ is the debut album from Van Canto main man Stefan Schmidt and his new power metal band Heavatar. For anyone who likes grandiose metal in the vein of Rhapsody & Blind Guardian then this is most definitely for you, but other areas of metal are catered for very nicely. Stefan is joined on this album by drummer Jorg Michael (ex-Stratovarius, Saxon and numerous others who, by the way, does a thunderous job) as well as Sebastian Scharf and David Vogt. Gone are the a capella refrains from his ‘day job’, although his band mates from Van Canto and the Blind Guardian choir do turn up on tracks for the choruses. What we have here is a full-on metal album that intertwines some superb classical pieces of music by the likes of Paganini, Bach, Beethoven & Bizet (who are all credited), but there is no orchestration apparent, the band relying purely on their instruments.

Stefan plays rhythm guitar and sings on ‘Opus I’ and it is his voice that separates this from other albums within the genre. He sounds very much like Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner from Rage and, at times, James Hetfield. This gives the music an even heavier feel than would usually be expected. If you can imagine the members of Rage joining Blind Guardian then you are on the money. This is an incredibly catchy album, with chorus sections to die for (thanks to all the fabulous backing singers), guitar solos that, thankfully, do not stray into modern day Malmsteen widdle and songs that will have you singing along faster than a Katie Price marriage lasts! ‘Abracadabra’ has one of the most upbeat riffs and choruses I’ve heard in ages and the eleven minutes plus of ‘The Look Above’ is just aural beauty! Production is fantastic and the artwork and booklet make a fabulous statement. It’s so nice for a band to take this much care and attention over presentation, especially nowadays.

With all of these positive comments I bet you are wondering if there’s anything not so good about the album? Well, there is one thing. Final track ‘To The Metal’ is mature cheddar of the highest order, sounds like a Manowar ‘ballad’, blots what is otherwise a fantastic album and really should have been consigned to the cutting room floor. That song alone drops this album a full mark, but in every other respect Heavatar have delivered an opus that absolutely satisfies my love of metal and classical music and it comes highly recommended.
Napalm Records
Review by Rick Tilley
22nd Feb 2013
1) Replica
2) Abracadabra
3) All My Kingdoms
4) Elysium at Dawn
5) Long Way Home
6) Born to Fly
7) Luna! Luna!
8) The Look Above
9) To the Metal
"If you can imagine the members of Rage joining Blind Guardian then you are on the money."