Heavenwood - Abyss Masterpiece (2011)



I must say, Portugal is one of the last places that i would look for gothic doom metal but sure enough there is a band known as Heavenwood who has a lot to offer. The six piece metal group has recently released their newest album, entitled "Abyss Masterpiece." These guys have managed to throw a little bit of everything into their album. From deep growling to mellow clean singing and nasty distorted guitars to angelic strings, this album carries a lot.

Sounding like an introduction to a movie, "The Arcadia Order" starts with horns, strings and other orchestrated instruments. This opener is full of energy as the deafening guitars come flying into play. The lead singer lets out a blast of deep heavy growls in the verses. The guitar work is great, as wicked melodies follow the verse glide over the intense drums. Next up is "Morning Glory Clouds (In Maus Tuas Domine" which starts with a heavenly echo of a choir. Chugging guitars come crashing in with heavy kicks and bright cymbals. The guitar riffs are catchy and repetitive all throughout the song as they are layered with clean vocals that you'll be singing along to in no time.

Things really start to pick up with the song "Goddess Presiding Over Solitude." Monstrous guitar riffs come tumbling down as you're crushed with massive double bass pedaling and sharp snares. The vocals are full of power as godly growls soar through the verses. Eerie strings fill in the background and accompany the guitars to provide more darkness to the music. Rapturous melodies enter towards the end of the song with such beauty. This is definitely a song you'll want to listen to a couple of times.

"Once A Burden" slows down the tempo with slow chugging guitars combined with some lighter notes played behind them. The vocals of the verse starts out a little different than what you've heard so far. Clean singing enters in the beginning with relaxing tones. However, this quickly changes back to the overwhelming growling that you've been hearing in the first few songs. Shattering cymbals fill the air as more of the heavy guitars chug away during the bridge. The refrain incorporates the devilish growling with the soft clean vocals layered on top. The sound that this produces is astonishing, giving mixed feelings of anger and sadness. "Winter Slave" follows, packing a powerful punch. The guitar work is absolutely dominating, especially since it's layered with deep demonic growling throughout. You will also find the drum fills to be quite impressive as the tempo constantly changes speed. This song song will have you pumping your fist from start to finish.

"Fading Sun" has got some thrashing guitars in the beginning mixed with soothing strings. The structure of the drums are pretty impressive as the details of the fills change constantly. More thunderous guitars chug away in between verses with dark demonic chords and soft synths in the background. "September Blood" is another song you won't want to skip. It's got destructive guitars mixed with epic strings right off the get. The refrain has interesting vocals as you'll find it to be a type of melodic growling. The change up really keeps you at the edge of your seat. And for those of you who can't get enough of the growling and are looking for another headbanger, check out the next song, entitled "Sudden Scars." This track has got some of the best growling of the entire album. The delivery is incredible and filled with emotion. This is definitely a "must hear" track.

Packed with excitement, "Abyss Masterpiece" has so much to offer and really comes though with its melodies and structure. It's great to hear such power mixed with both heavy and relaxing riffs. Heavenwood has been able to provide a little bit of everything, so that anyone who picks it up will find something that they'll enjoy. And with an epic orchestrated outro like "Her Lament," this is truly a masterpiece.

8.5/10

Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/heavenwood