HEAVEN’S TRAIL – Lethal Mind [Japanese Edition +1] (2018)
“Lethal Mind“, the debut of HEAVEN’S TRAIL, an exciting collaboration of current and former JADED HEART members alongside MASTERPLAN vocalist Rick Altzi will be released tomorrow in Asia, with this Japanese Edition including an exclusive bonus track.
So what you get with this super German group? Half Masterplan (Altzi and drummer Kevin Kott), and half Jaded Heart in guitarist Barish Kepic / bass player Michael Muller.
The result is the sound and style of both bands mixed, powerful, yet much more hard rock oriented than metal.
Opener title track is perhaps the heavier song on the album, modern, with mysterious synths in the background and strong verses. Follower ‘Too Late’ is more commercial, catchy hard rock with an anthemic chorus and swirling guitar liks by Kepic. Think Jorn more accessible moments.
‘Changes’ bring to mind ’90s Jaded Heart and this is a plus for me, a melodic midtempo with atmospheres and solid vocal work by Altzi, which is doubled on several layers for great effect, kudos to Barish Kepic’s production and Brian Anthony’s mix. Killer, awesome song.
‘Carousel’ delivers just more melodic quality (recalls Unisonic to me), ‘On the Rise’ is so melodic and catchy that many Scandi melodic hard rock bands come to mind, and ‘Voodoo’ gets equal parts of melody and groove.
‘King of Pain’ is atrack that sounds quite different to the rest, and it’s a welcomed variation. While modern in sound, the core of the songwriting is typically ’80s to me. The rhythm section, while heavy, delivers some kind of ‘shuffle’ that works very well alongside Kepic’s complete guitar work.
For harder numbers check ‘Carousel’ with its quite epic chorus, or the racing ‘Walking in the Shadows’ with some Primal Fear touches, yet more melodious.
‘Simplified’ is a terrific semi-ballad, more like a midtempo classic metal slow tune with keyboards in the mix, again benefited by a clever production.
This Japanese edition includes a bonus track the song ‘Burn’ (not a Puple cover), but pumping mid-paced hard rocker with clean yet raspy lead vocals and excellent rhythm guitar tracks by Kepic – listen to it with headphones to appreciate. Very good song.
HEAVEN’S TRAIL’s debut “Lethal Mind“ is a powerful collection of songs plenty of hooks sure to please all classic metal & traditional hard rock fans. Don’t be fooled by the band / album name / artwok; this is not heavy or extreme metal. Als things here are punchy but very melodic.
Apart from the solid songwriting and fantastic musicianship, what makes this album different from the bunch is the clever production. Handled by guitarist Barish Kepic, there’s an ovbious attention to detail and layers of tracks wisely assembled for great effect.
01. Lethal Mind
02. Too Late
05. Feed My Soul
06. On the Rise
07. The Flame
08. Walking in the Shadows
10. King of Pain
12. Burn (Japan Bonus Track)
Rick Altzi – Vocals (Masterplan, ex At Vance)
Barish Kepic – Guitars, Keyboards (Jaded Heart, Evidence One)
Michael Muller – Bass (Jaded Heart, ex Mad Max)
Kevin Kott – Drums (Masterplan, ex At Vance)