On their debut effort, The Heavils established themselves as a wacky band that could bring the mosh. With this sophomore album, they assert that point once again by cranking up the heaviness and rubbing your face in it, this time aided by the wackiest of them all, acclaimed producer and all around mad genius, Devin Townsend.
The first track, “Outside the Circle”, immediately blows away anything on said debut. Short, fast, heavy, and pretty damn serious. I started to wonder if maybe my CD was a misprint and this was some other band. A double check confirms that yes, this is still The Heavils. I’m rocking now as “Get Behind Me” pounds through my speakers and into my cerebellum. I can’t believe this is the same band that lifted a riff from the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” on their last album. Granted, this stuff is nothing brilliant, but it’s got heavy grooves and I can’t resist my headbanging urges.
Oh, ok. Here’s that wackiness I’ve been expecting, combining heavy, distorted riffs with clean passages with the vocals following suit on songs called “Chicken Soup Can”, “Space Heater”, and “Laundry Day”. Well, I guess you’ve gotta write what you know. If those don’t just scream “poor musician anthems”, I don’t know what does. “Touch” is an interesting track about love and loss, but you’d never guess that from the riffs and gruff vocal delivery.
Now here’s something I’ve never heard on a metal album before – a Cheap Trick cover! A lesser known one, at that. “Just Got Back” still feels like a Cheap Trick song, but it’s been completely Heavilized. And goddamn! They got guitarist Rick Nielsen and his son Miles to perform on the track. This immediately went into my mental file of top cover songs of all time.
The wackiness goes up a notch with “Floaters” – the vocals, the lyrics, and music. Yet, still glorious in its dementia. Yet still, the songs take on a bit more traditional structure, which The Heavils are more than happy to vandalize. The album ends on an interesting note, with the long psychedelic drone of “Kadigimonk”. It’s certainly something that will fuck with the stoners who listen to this album, but after all that rocking out without substances, I’m feeling a bit let down.
This disc may end up being the surprise of the year. As a fan of their last album, even I was taken aback by how great this disc was to listen to. While there is nothing really groundbreaking here, The Heavils have quite a unique style that doesn’t sound like anybody else, and are just pure rockin’ metal fun.