Friday, March 22, 2013

HAVEN - YOUR DYING DAY Retroactive Reissue

To the uninitiated Haven were a traditional heavy metal band from the American northeast. They released two solid metal platters on the R.E.X Records label back in the early 1990’s to much acclaim. Retroactive Records has seen fit to reissue their debut release Your Dying Day, well actually this arrived last year (2012) and somehow just missed my radar.

At the time of the albums original release strong comparisons to Queensryche were floating around the landscape. Listening to this album in 2013 I’m not so sure all of those comparisons were valid. Yes many of the elements are present, melodic intros and strong non traditional arrangements (at least in comparison to most traditional heavy metal). Perhaps think of The Warning era of the Ryche catalog, I think they were much heavier than Ryche period.

However the one item that strikes me differently this time is out is the vocal of Kevin Ayers. His delivery is much more raspy (like Les Carlson) than Geoff Tate. Yes he touches the stratosphere on such tracks as Below the Grave and Escape, and his range is there however it’s not as ‘clean’ as say Ray Parra. However this is part of what brings Haven to life for me, I love music that could or should be clean but the raw edges are left intact.

Fans of traditional metal will find quite a bit to chew on here. Whether it’s the driving Help Me Follow, the clutch and brake of On Judgement Day or the pure mayhem of the high octane title track this album packs a wallop. My personal favorite is the aforementioned Bellow the Grave. Ayers let it rip and the riff is a chugging piece of metallic brilliance.

The remastering brought on by our favorite mastering artist J Powell at Steinhaus once again delivers the goods. You won’t hear harsh frequencies but rich and defined bass and some soaring clarity amongst the middle and higher end frequencies.

A quality four panel layout digipack brings this package together quite nicely. Retroactive hit another gem and brings it all together.

Haven’s Your Dying Day is a must have if you don’t already own it. Be reminded of when the name of Jesus was brought to the forefront and not hidden under a bushel. A pile driver of a metal album well worth your time and consideration.

9 axes
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