Stefan Schmidt is the mastermind behind acapella metal band Van Canto and also Heavatar. Unlike Van Canto, Heavatar is a more conventional band with instruments rather than acapella, but once again he’s tried to do something a little different. Heavatar fuse classical music and metal music. OK they’re far from the first to do this, but the approach here is to imagine how a metal band would sound with Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin etc as members. That’s quite a different approach to how Trans Siberian Orchestra did things with their Beethoven’s last stand album for example, and does lead to a more varied result.
Sometimes the classical side is immediately apparent as you recognise certain bits of classical music, but sometimes its far more subtle.
The album kicks off with “None shall sleep” and it’s a song that is definitely metal with little of the classical influence immediately apparent in the riffs and driving drums – it’s thrash metal and the classical influence (Puccini in this case) is something you’d have to really search for.
In contrast, “The annihilation” immediately shows it’s classical side with the opening being some of Beethoven’s most well known work. After the intro though it’s more metal.
It’s an interesting album – while the focus is on the classical side, if you completely ignored that and just branded it as a metal album then it wouldstill be well received – it’s a great metal album. The classical side in most of the songs is unlikely to be noticed by many metal fans other than where it’s purely a classical music intro to a metal song. The subtle uses of classical ideas is a great idea and some fans will spot where certain bits are influenced by Classical composers but this is more a bonus for those fans than something you need to hear to enjoy.
While some metal/classical projects really take heavily from classical music, Heavatar’s different approach means it’s an album more metal fans are likely to enjoy, while still incorporating ideas, melodies etc from Classical music. It’s not what I was expecting from the album but I’ve enjoyed the album more than I expected. Definitely an album worth checking out whether you know anything about classical music or not.
Opus II – The Annihilation, will be released on 16th February 2018
1. None shall sleep
2. Into doom
3. Purpose of a virgin mind
4. Hijacked by unicorns
5. The annihilation
6. Wake up now
7. A broken taboo
8. An awakening
9. A battle against all hope
10. A look inside
11. Metal daze
12. The look inside (orchestral version)