Heyel’s new album “Nebulae” is a hard progressive rock collection with gothic staples and the euphoria of video game commercials. The album’s second track, “The Prophet,” exemplifies Heyel’s take on alternative metal with a mix of clean female vocals and beefy electric guitars.
Heylel is based in Portugal, one of the least-expected places to produce this band’s grim sound. Heylel incorporates the standard work of nu and alternative metal such as galloping hard guitars, heavy crash cymbals, and a croaking bass line. But even though this type of music usually calls for a masculine and grungy lead singer, the clean vocals of Ana Batista sharply contrasts the usual style. Sounding more like a lead singer for a church than for a rock band, she adds a feel similar to American hard rock band Evanescence. At the same time, the out-of-place synthesizers lean closer towards prog rock bands like Tran Siberian Orchestra.
Heylel seems to have an idea of what it wants to sound like. However, the vocals don’t mix very well. I understand that Batista’s clean style intentionally juxtaposes the hard music, but it just doesn’t mesh. The vocals are too loud, yet they aren’t aggressive or even emotive. I think this song would improve if the Batista was more energetic and the vocal volume was brought down. Maybe then, it would sound like she’s singing with the band rather than over the band.
Click here to listen to “The Prophet” form Heylel on SoundCloud!
Born in the fall of 2012, Heylel present themselves as an alternative prog rock band with a gothic twist. The Portuguese quartet aim to recapture the essence of old school Progressive Rock, whilst adding their very personal touch. The outcome is a dark, atmospheric and involving sound.
Heylel enjoy creative freedom, meaning they avoid connections with any particular music style but rather direct their energy towards creating emotional connections and passing messages to the audience, regardless of the melodic approach they feel appropriate for each story. This happens mostly because of the diverse art background that each band member provides.
The author, Narciso Monteiro, former student of Porto’s Jazz School, was also the guitar player and co-founder of The Gama GT Blues Project, a Portuguese original only blues band with two released records. In “Nebulae” he recorded guitars, bass and keyboards. He is recently also working in other contemporary art projects, like sound tracking Hans Richter’s “Two pence magic”, for the 2013 edition of the Amares animation and experimental cinema festival.