Sjak : The in 1986 released debut album ‘Graceful Inheritance’ of the American band Heir Apparent is by many (rightfully) seen as a true US metal classic and in those days everybody thought that the band had a very bright future ahead. Successor ‘One Small Voice’, which was released in 1989, showed a significant style change however, because the traditional power metal that was played on the debut album was replaced by, moreover great sounding, progressive metal. Despite this style change also ‘One Small Voice’ proved to be an excellent record, but shortly after the release it became awfully quiet around this talented outfit. Therefore probably nobody had ever expected to get another sign of life of Heir Apparent again, but the unexpected has become reality as after a whopping twenty-nine years after ‘One Small Voice’ Heir Apparent has returned to the music front with their third album ‘The View From Below’.
The core of the band is still guitar player Terry Gorle and for this third album he has surrounded himself with the original members Derek Peace (bass) and Ray Schwartz (drums), but he has also added some new blood with Op Sakiya (keyboards) and the great singer Wil Shaw. On ‘The View From Below’ eight songs are to be found, which match quite well with the material that the band played on the second album. Everything sounds a bit more subdued, but certainly not less impressive and the song material especially gives singer Will Shaw the opportunity to show his vocal capabilities and he grabs this opportunity with both hands. Tunes like ‘Man In The Sky’, ‘Synthetic Lies’, the heavy ‘Savior’ and ‘Further And Farther’ show that mister Gorle still knows how to write great progressive metal tracks, although it has to be said that the record as a whole is a high-quality affair. ‘The View From Below’ definitely doesn’t have the impact of the first two Heir Apparent albums, but it has become a very good progressive metal album which will most certainly find its way to the fans of the genre. I’m quite happy to see that a lot of my personal favourites from the eighties are still active or become active again and this unexpected third album of Heir Apparent is a very welcome and pleasant comeback I might say.