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Heartcry - Lightmaker - 2005 - Rivel Records

Track Listing
1. Battleground
2. Burn Out
3. Runaway Train
4. End Of Times
5. Lightmaker
6. Get Ready
7. Justice
8. None
9. Dark Side
10. Child
I am thoroughly enjoying this Rivel Records roster. My last few reviews have been quite positive, covering Audiovision and Divine Fire for the label. This time around we explore more Christian white metal in the form of Heartcry's debut album "Lightmaker", a suitable name for another inspirational, thought provoking band. With the group's Rivel Records debut the band introduce us to a deeply rooted 70s sound, clearly inspired by the likes of Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, UFO, and a good amount of Euro flavored power metal to add in a bit of a modern approach.

I'll be the first to say that this album is probably the "weakest" sounding release of the recent batch of Rivel goodies. Audiovision, Divine Fire, and Veni Domine all sound bombastic and crystal clear. This album is really on the other side of the fence. The production is extremely loose as opposed to the tighter, more refined control panel used for the other releases. This could be simply the band's decision to clearly stay grounded, to absorb the loose, more blues based vibe of the 70s and early 80s. They really capture that soundtrack and expand on the ideals put forth with the grand spectacle of NWOBHM. At times I'm reminded of early Maiden, Tokyo Blade, and Savage. Other times I'm embracing this Swedish band's ode to Hughes, Gillan, Blackmore, and Lynott.

But before we jump into the album, let me introduce you to Heartcry and the events that led up to "Lightmaker". The band was formed in the late 80s by lead vocalist and guitarist Anders Johansson and keyboardist Dan Tibell. The band recorded and released three records prior to "Lightmaker", "Come Back Home", "Heartcry", and "Okenland". During the band's active period they did some touring and managed to gain a small record contract. After years of hard work and dedication the band decided to take a three year hiatus. Now God's soldiers are back and better than ever, signing with Christian Rivel's (Divine Fire, Audiovision, Narnia) Rivel Records group.

This album kicks off with a running head start, with the faster, more powerful cut like "Battleground". With this sweeping opener the band enjoys a fantastic romp through European power metal, with influences coming from the German scene for sure. Johansson proves he is a capable singer and guitarist for this style, really going over the top at times with his delivery and range. The guitars are extremely loose and would normally sound somewhat out of place. But with this album's production it all fits together well. "Burn Out", "Justice", and even parts of "Get Ready" has a Rainbow/Dio styled vibe, with a good health dose of 70s hard rock dashed in. Drummer Anders Kollerfors drumming pattern reminds me of Bill Ward and Bobby Rondinelli on these types of songs. "Runaway Train" gets back on the rails again, adding in plenty of speed and hard rock velocity, sort of combining the first and second cuts together for a well blended NWOBHM shake. Judging from cuts like "End Of Times" and "None" Heartcry enjoys more pop oriented music as well. By no means are these songs dance friendly or completely R&B oriented, but the songs are slow-tempo and really don't drive into any power or heavy metal fire. They aren't bad songs, but I was hoping for some more fury. The album closes with "Child", a jam styled Led Zeppelin fest.

Note- You can download two more bonus tracks, "The Viking" and "Still", at the band's official site.

--EC 04.01.05
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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REVIEWER DATE
LightmakerHeartcry
2005
Eric Compton4/1/2005


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