Label: Pure Steel Records
Date: October 29th, 2021
I cannot remember when I was so delighted after I heard the cover as an album opener. Mexicans: Jason Conde-Houston, Armand “Hank” Ramos, Carlo Hernández and Tomás Roitman decided to put “Gerudo Valley” as an album opener. Koji Kondo’s theme composed for The Legend of Zelda, a high fantasy action-adventure video game franchise, now has another dimension. Split Heaven colored it with a power, accelerated it bit and added some vocals. Of all the versions of this song, based on Maurice Ravel’s Boléro I have ever heard, this is the best one.
After tremendous surprise, the quartet from Santiago de Querétaro, deliver ten author songs which are nothing more but pure metal. Yes, there will be a bit of power metal, but the foundation is good old school heavy metal. To be precise, 80’s and early 90’s heavy metal.
“Electric Spell” is their fifth album, released five years after their latest release “Death Rider”. “Sacred Fire” is a mix of mid tempo that accelerates, again slows down, and plays masterfully with the listener around 6 minutes. The next one continues at the same pace, a bit leaning, at least vocally, on early Sanctuary. “The Haunted Place” has a really moving rhythm, infectious guitar riff and King Diamond-ish vocal delivery. But even the song title goes in King Diamond’s direction. So, we are not even on the half of the album, and mentioning legends as Warrel Dane or Kim Benedix Petersen will not just reveal Split Heaven’s influences, but a variety of this album.
“Revolucion” is a song inspired by the Mexican revolution, so the rhythm must be combative. The lyrics give a special note to the overall experience and even if you do not understand the language, you have to raise your fist and shout: Viva la revolucion! Drum section here plays the main role.
“Back from Purgatory” will start a bit slower, might trick you as a potential ballad, but will transform to pure energy soon. This song, more than others, carries a nostalgic vibe, at least for me, Methuselah, who have been witnessing the evolution of metal.
“Hellion’s Night”, I really cannot resist but not to say, is highly influenced by Gamma Ray, so if you remember when I wrote there will be a bit of power metal, I meant on this song. “Split Heaven” might have the energy that suits me the best. This is the metal I like, metal I was growing up with; metal that will always move me and keep my energy high, especially when it comes to the chorus. If you disagree with me, let’s fight! No, I am not violent at all, we are already at ninth song and here I would point on lyrics. Pay attention. “Electric Spell” delivers galloping rhythm; it is very melodic, catchy, one of those sticky songs. It will easily stuck in your head
In the end, another instrumental, “Immolation”. It is short, again surprising, and unfortunately, we will have to wait for another chapter in Split Heaven’s history.
Now, take some tequila and celebrate metal! Those four Mexican pistoleros know what they are doing.