Band: Active Heed
Band Website: www.activeheed.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2014
Higher Dimensions is the second musical outing for Active Heed an Italian band made up of Cristiano Roversi (keyboards, bass), Gian Maria Roveda (drums), Mirco Ravenoldi (guitars) and Per Fredrik Åsly (vocals). The time between releases has seen a change in musicians and that has had a significant positive effect on the music on Higher Dimensions.
There are a total of 12-tracks on Higher Dimensions displaying a melodic progressive rock influenced by mid-period Genesis. There’s plenty of powerful staccato chord openings, acoustic guitar picking, shimmering Mellotron and solid bass lines all combining to create some rather exhilarating music. Tunes such as “Far Escape” [6:02] with its bassy melody line and grand flourishes. The layers of symphonic keyboards are the work of Roversi whose credentials in Moongarden and Submarine Silence are well known. Most of these compositions are between four and six-minutes with only the closer running out to almost ten. That said there are plenty of musical change-ups, some expected and some surprising. The blend of these elements makes for some very wonderful moments: grand orchestral stabs that subside on waves of Mellotron strings or choirs. In fact it seems Mellotron sounds are on virtually every track. I’m not suggesting everything on Higher Dimensions is soft and sweet however, because there are moments where the crunchy guitar pops through. It never dominates the whole song though. If there is weak-link it might be with the vocals being sung in English. Usually I’m not a stickler for this, but in a few places it strikes me some of the phrasing suffers. Perhaps it’s a subtle thing, but there is something to be said for singing in your native language. Over all though, this disc is everything a prog album should be: a nice mix of acoustic and electric, grand and majestic, lots of changes in time and tempo and outside musical influences.
The music of Active Heed on this sophomore release has taken a giant Prog-leap forward. The songs are more complex in structure, more intricate in terms of arrangements and ultimately more pleasing to my ears. I would highly recommend the band to those of you who like the music of Barclay James Harvest, Cross or mid-period Genesis. Good job, well worth checking out.