Harmony – Theatre Of Redemption

October 17, 2014 in Reviews by Arno Callens

Harmony-Theatre Of RedemptionHarmony – Theatre Of Redemption (2014)

Reviewed by Arno Callens

This is not a new Lost Horizon record.

There, we got that sorted out. The good news is that Daniel Heiman is finally back where he belongs: in metal. For its third outing, Harmony tapped this fan-favorite singer, but unlike recent, however successful, hijack jobs (think Michele Luppi with Secret Sphere, or further back, Urban Breed with Bloodbound), this is still one hundred percent a Swedish, religious power metal experience.

After a promising start with Dreaming Awake, and a superior sophomore effort in Chapter II: The Aftermath, Chapter III at last gives us the Harmony record that I always knew the Swedes had in them. Retaining the band’s signature solemn style and subtle sense of melody, Theatre Of Redemption is bigger, better, and an overall top contender for 2014’s album of the year.

Just how much has this to do with Heiman himself? Of course, hiring a man of his not inconsiderable talent is certain to lend your work that extra flavor. This isn’t to say that Henrik Båth held the band back (about as much as Mikael Dahl did/does in Crystal Eyes), but that Heiman touch is fan-favorite for a reason. The superhuman wails, the natural emotion, the unrivaled raw power, all of that bigger and better than before as well. In whatever dark corner of the music industry this man has been lurking in for all these years, he’s picked up a thing or two. A tender and soulful performance like the one on “What If” could simply not have come from him in his Lost Horizon-days. Goosebumps, ladies and gentlemen, entire flocks of geese.

Logically, even Daniel freakin’ Heiman can only thrive when the songwriting is there to support him. Harmony stepped up its game considerably in this department, opting for shorter, tighter material here. Theatre Of Redemption is trademarked by sharp and poignant riffs, simple but gripping melodies, and an overdose of class. “Son Of The Morning” and the title track sound like the basic but effective kind of songs that Kamelot used to churn out in its heyday, boasting oriental effects, a mystic atmosphere, and an ominous chorus. “I gave it aaall – for – NOTHING!” More geese and whatnot.

Not all of it is down and plodding, though. Introspective opener “Window Of My Soul”, the celebratory “Crown Me King”, and self-referencing closer “In Search Of” root Harmony firmly in the national style. Anyone attempting to chronicle the rich history of Swedish power metal should do well to include them. For filler tracks, to conclude, look further, because Harmony wastes no time making every single song one worthy of remembrance and appreciation.

This is not a Lost Horizon record. Instead it’s the best album Harmony has ever released, and one of the best this year has seen so far. Daniel Heiman returns gloriously to be crowned as king (only to disappear, as he’s only a guest on this album), and aids Harmony in releasing its full potential. Fans of Heiman, Harmony, and (Swedish) power metal in general should purchase this blindly.

4.5 // 5