Heavenly - Carpe Diem
XIII bis
Majestic (Symphonic) Power/Speed Metal
9 songs ()
Release year: 2009
Heavenly, XIII bis
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the year

First of all let me wish you all a Happy New year 2010. I would like to address to all our readers my best wish for health, success and of course metal satisfaction ! 2010 is the site's 10 years (yes already :) ) and that's quite an achievement, and we look forward to the next decade of reviews. Thank you for your fidelity and here's to another 10 years of raging Metal Reviews ! On a more personal note, I have been rather absent lately and I'm sorry about that, 2009 was a transition year for me on many levels, and I feel 2010 will be the start of a new beginning for me. So to start the new year well, I thought what best than to review the latest album of what of my favourite bands ? One that gets, with every years, higher and higher on the top of my all-time favorite band's list.

Now on the album shall we ? Heavenly's latest offering hold very little surprise (but that is a good thing), as we all know by now that Heavenly has still to disappoint to this day, and this fifth album is a killer, like the 4 that preceded it. Heavenly is definitely the most amazing French metal band in my books, closely followed by Manigance, but still ahead imho. This album is the logical continuation for the band and Heavenly shows their experience in yet another flamboyant way. My only gripe with the album would be the artwork, which cheap nudity and subject baffles me, but fear not : it's inversly proportional to how good the album is.

The production of the album is the first thing that strikes when pressing the play button. The sound is so clear and everything is mixed to absolute perfection, refelcting the many layers of heavy and melodic this album holds. This album sounds like that all the experience of Heavenly focused into one album, with a few new twists. The album reminds me of a crossover from the last three albums, with a twist of classic Queen thrown into the mix (especially on a few tracks). The result is a grandiose lesson in how to make Power Metal in the next decade ! Ben's vocals are at their best, and he gained in versatility over the years, while retaining his core personality. He gets to show some hidden facets of his vocal masetery with some lower than usual vocals that are a welcomed addition and perfectly executed. The choirs are the best Heavenly ever delivered and they add a symphonic component to their song and a sometimes even operatic effect. I wondered if I should do a song by song review or if I'll go over the album and let you discover some surprises on your own. I will go with the latter. The album is a perfect mix of raw power and unrestricted heaviness (cubic riffs mixed in with melodic attacks) and powerful vocal melodies and grandiose, out of this world chorus lines. Heavenly has always been the kind of band to make the experience grow crescendo, with catchy yet agressive verses, mellower ,prepare for the slap melodic bridge and then unleash their killer over-the-top choirs oriented choruses on to the listener. Everything is top notch really, the agressivness, the meloody and the overal majesty is distributed with all the right proportions to achieve one of the band's best album to date. My favorite is still remain Dust to Dust, but Carpe Diem easily takes the close second place. There is not a boring song on the album (just one tiny bit lower ballad, which is still a great song, but in my opinion shouldn't have been placed so early in the album) , and a few ultra killer tracks that already are classics of the band. Amongst them I would have to mention the most surprising track yet perfectly executed homage to Queen : A Better Me ! Take all that is good in Heavenly and add vocals and musical touch a la old Queen, and you get a killer, rocking song that shows that it's possible to make an homage to a band without sounding like a pale copy. Instead Heavenly improves this style with today's powerful power metal blend only them can deliver (and not too long ago Edguy as well). This 6 minute song is quite impressive. Even Lost in Your Eyes, which is a tad typical song for the band, remains still a great moment and perfectly executed. On the songs that makes my entire self tick, there is FullMoon with it's over the top chorus, Save our Souls for the sheer enthusiasm (and a perfect way to makes us beg for more as a closing track) and Ode to Joy for perfectly demonstrating once and for all how classical music and metal are a match made in heaven. Ashen Paradise is also one of my favorite song as well, reminding me a lot of Sign of the Winner era with a bit of a heavier punch (yet again would Sign of the Winner be re-recorded and produced today, it would be hard to compete with) ! There is so much more I could and would like to say but I really want you to enjoy the full experience that Carpe Diem is, and don't let the (beyond) silly cover turn you down. The album is a pure jewel of majestic power & even symphonic metal. The overall sound is more symphonic than on the older albums, and that is due I'm sure to the better production. Guitar-wise you're also in for amazingly blazing fast solos that will surely overheat your neuronal system with joy and mind-blowing melodies. The arrangements are near perfect and everything is held together by the tightest rhythm performance in the band's history !

The album of the year award is of course for 2009, as this album is one of the last albums to have been released in 2009 and the best way to close out the metal year I might add. While 2009 held a lot of strong releases, it was, at least in my opinion (and for myself), a tad weaker years than usual. This album however, lifted my spirit quite high and ended the year metal-wise in absolute perfection ! To have released 5 albums and 5 killer ones at that is something that VERY few bands ever achieve. I don't know how they can get any better than this, but I know this, if there is one band that can do it it's certainly Heavenly. If you love over-the-top majestic and melodic power metal you cannot miss this release ! And the music is so great we can easily forgive the bad taste in the artwork...which is better left forgotten as an oddity. Let's just hope this is not a new trend for the band visual identity. I really can't take enough of Carpe Diem, it's powerful, it's heavy, it's melodic to the bones, it breathes experience and panache at the same time. It's everthing I love about Metal. The best release of 2009 for me, period !

Killing Songs :

They're all awesome songs, my favorites would have to be (in no particular order) : Carpe Diem, FullMoon, A Better Me, Ashen Paradise, Ode to Joy and Save Our Souls.

Chris quoted 97 / 100
Kyle quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Heavenly that we have reviewed:
Heavenly - Virus reviewed by Chris and quoted 96 / 100
Heavenly - Dust To Dust reviewed by Chris and quoted 98 / 100
Heavenly - Sign Of The Winner reviewed by Chris and quoted 96 / 100
Heavenly - Coming From The Sky reviewed by Chris and quoted 91 / 100
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