Baby Jean is track one from the EP ‘Beautiful Place’. The song starts with a guitar introduction leading to the rest of the instruments coming in. The groove is solid. The production hits you in the gut, and yes, there is a vocal “Uh” as things kick off. For me, within the first 20 seconds, I felt these guys had the groove of Audioslave and the sassiness of Aerosmith… what an unstoppable combination.
The little vocal nuances reminded me so much of early days Robert Plant mixed with the soul of Stevie Wonder. A comparison I didn’t think was possible, but it’s done so well. The record in itself is a fantastic opener, for me, a first-time listener of Heavyman, it sets the pace of their signature sound (which I love). Also, in this record, not only are there some really cool vocal harmonies, but also there are some very Rainbow-esque guitar harmonies too! The guys mixed some of my favourite bands into one sound, and after listening to this track, I fell in love.
The song ends with some enormously impressive vocal harmonies, some suprt impressive falsetto and one last, big, thick, chunky guitar lead riff.
Track two is called “Something you own”. It’s much slower than ‘Baby Jean’, but it’s needed. The space in between each beat is so important here. There are lovely vocal chants at the beginning of the track and the most immense bass slide known to man! Again, the vocals really paying audible tribute to 60’s and 70’s glam rock, and it’s done well. The drums on this were a lot of fun. The drummer does an outstanding job of keeping things simple, when, as a drummer, I know how easy it is to go off track and get carried away because of the pace of this track. Th drummers approach allowed me to hear every note, and ghost note, that he played. The kick drum also rattled my rib cage a bit too.
This track sports a lot of busy spells for the bass too. For me, It just makes the listening that bit more interesting when the bass goes a bit off road. Nothing the bass did was particularly experimental, but those little runs just added another layer of excellence to this already wonderful track.
At 3 minutes there’s the greatest guitar solo. Again, not too over the top, but just exactly what I wanted to hear. From 3 minutes 30, there are some really high vocal harmony / chior sections. I just wished they had lasted a bit longer, as when they dipped out, I felt the track was losing one of its essential coats. However, in saying that, when those same vocal sections return for the outro, it does make the ending that bit more special.
‘Out of my Head’ is track number 3. It’s another guitar intro, but this time, I think it’s fair to say the guitarist was having a lot of fun with the pedal board. Its very glitchy and electronic sounding. After this alien-like introduction, every band member is in, and this is, so far, their most upbeat song.
After a couple of bars, those flawless vocals are back. The use of light and shade in the vocal performance on this song is staggering. It is so mature and uplifting to listen to. My favourite part of the record was the fact these guys even had an “ooh-la-la-la” section which sounded totally inspired by Jack Black and School of Rock (that’s absolutely not a negative by the way!). I feel like Out of My Head is the most musically complex track on the EP. Its fast paced, there are (as ever) a lot of vocal harmonies, a lot of pushes and a lot for the guys to remember. This was an extraordinarily well composed record.
If I was going to introduce a friend to Heavyman, this would be the song I would use to introduce them. It’s fun, energetic, interesting, engaging, captivating and, musically, its all killer and no filler. A huge accomplishment, and probably my favourite track from this wonderful EP.
Track 4 is called Loose lips. For fans of funk and soul, this would be the track for you. Again, the bass on this song takes a pivotal role in the songs instant likeability. The bass’s groove is the glue that holds everyone else down throughout the song. Whilst this primarily the bass players job, the tone, the fuzz he creates and the notes that are played are just well thought out and tuneful.
Again, Heavyman use those tightly fixed, and massively tuneful vocal harmonies in Loose Lips to keep layer of luxury on this record. At 1 minute 55 seconds, the guitar takes centre stage whilst the other instruments briefly drop out. The pace of the build up after this point is wonderful. The drums concentrate solely on the kick and snare whist the bass and guitar support the vocal in building suspense. The song drops and its much faster than the rest of the record for a few wonderful moments, then the track drops ack in to its chorus one last time, leaving a very unexpected and well thought out guitar ring to finish the song.
I think at this point in the EP, I have submitted to the fact that Heavyman are not the band I expected them to be. I thought that, purely because of the name, they would be.. well…Heavy! There are distorted guitars, complex fills on the kit and the vocal (as I said earlier) is a real nod to classic rock. But I guess with their name, I expected screaming and songs in Drop D. But.. there wasn’t that. I was surprised, and their sound was better than I could have imagined.
The penultimate track is called Pigs. Its another short guitar intro which leads to the rest of the band joining for 27 seconds before that crisp, warm and well-rehearsed vocal joins. Again, the pace of this track is slower than some of the others, but I feel like for Heavyman, so much thought is put into every crotchet, so Pigs, as a slower track, needs that ability to breathe.
One thing that really stood out for me when I was listening to Pigs, is the bands post production TLC. It’s obvious that these 4 guys did not scrimp on production. Every beat, every note, every little thing can be heard perfectly. The tone of every instrument sounds great, and the vocal is just the right level too. As I said earlier, whilst the song itself is slow, there is (in true Heavyman style) lots going on. I even heard a couple of granite blocks being used which was great, It gives the percussion that extra slice of interest.
From 2:25 I fell in love. At this point I was air drumming. It was like a real mash up of AC/DC and Guns N Roses. The guitar solo after the breakdown was flawless. In this song, you can feel the energy and passion coming from the guys. The ending of the song is extremely strong. It ends with another guitar solo and there is a lot of fun with the vocal too. It’s like the guitar and vocal are having a fight.. but they both win!.. There wasn’t one part of this track (or EP) where I thought “these guys could have done this better” or “differently”.
And we come to the last song on this masterpiece album, which is named after the EP “Beautiful Place”. Initially, the song is fast with hints of classic speed-metal like motorhead and old school Metallica. After around 30 seconds, things slow down. I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed at this stage. Only because, often with EP’s, the last track is the bands most experimental work, and for me, I was hoping for something a bit more upbeat to finish things off. However, in saying that, a song matching the speed of The Ace of Spades might not be Heavyman’s style, and I can tell how important precision is to them with regards to their signature sound and groove.
At 1 minute 23 seconds, we are greeted with a very dreamy guitar, building a truly atmospheric sound supported just by the vocal. This section is short lived and the song carries on with the bass leading the next section. I was impressed that the word “kaleidoscope” made it in to the lyrics on this song. Once again, another dreamy section presents itself at 2 minutes 20 seconds. This time, the instruments are all involved. But everything is very delicate with lots of vocal harmonies and a beautifully crafted string section. This had hints of Dream Theater and Blackfield all over it.. Very epic, and actually, my favourite song off the entire EP.
The song ends with one last guitar solo leading in to that fast pace speed metal that I was craving for just 4 minutes earlier. It was haunting, it was gothic, it was classic, it was tight, it was well rehearsed… it was just a perfect end.
For fans of Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Motorhead, Blackfield, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Mama’s Gun and Guns n Roses, I’d say that these guys would be for you.
A real mix of classic rock but re-written in to the 21st century. These 4 have such taste, expertise and potential. The musicianship is off the scale, the song writing is some of the best I’ve heard and overall, I was pleasantly surprised. As I said, I thought these guys were going to be heavy metal, but when I hit play, I was like “oh wow!”. I didn’t know what to expect, but this EP surpassed all my expectations. A wonderful journey from start to finish.
Lastly, on their spotify, the live artwork represents which song you’re listening to. I haven’t seen anyone do that before, and I absolutely loved it.
Heavyman… I WILL be seeing you live.