Heaven’s Cry
Food for Thought Substitute (Reissue)

Trying to get a reissue some face time in this day and age is a near fruitless endeavor. Chances are, someone out there has the album in question, and probably has gone to great lengths to post it as a torrent. Therefore, the term “reissue” loses some of its muster for a band like Montreal’s Heaven’s Cry, who made a strong return to the scene by way of last year’s Wheels of Impermanence. First up is the band’s 1996 debut, Food for Thought Substitute, which if anything, will serve as a “this is from our old days!” piece for the band as they start to make touring rounds.

Considering there is a high probability a progressive/power metal album in 1996 lacked in production, the album is helped in the sonic department thanks to the team of Yannick St-Amand (Despised Icon) and Jens Borgen (Amon Amarth, Symphony X). This re-imaging of the album gives it a modern day feel, which makes perfect sense – Food for Thought Substitute probably stood out like a sore thumb in the Euro-dominated power metal scene in 1996. You can easily hear Borgen’s sonic stamp, although for once, the snare isn’t overpowering the mix.

Given the band’s Montreal locale, it’s a safe bet that there will be lots of limb-venturings here…and there is. Heaven’s Cry don’t have a set template in place, rather, exuding brash musical interludes that overpower one with technicality, while vocalist/guitarist Pierre St-Jean utilizes a textured, palatable vocal push that works well in concert with “Out of Me” (dig the Voivod riffs) and “The Alchemist.” He’s at his best on “March,” where he doles out mounds of “oohs” and “aahs,” which are ripe for the dramatic field they are playing in.

Instead of placing Food for Thought Substitute in a modern context, the album is best viewed by pondering what the progressive/power metal climate was for a Canadian band in 1996. No doubt Heaven’s Cry felt like a bunch of loners, for it was them and just them trying hit paydirt with this style in Canada. Therefore, Food for Thought Substitute is a time capsule album, thus warranting a tip of the cap to a band who had the guts to swim upstream in an awfully tough current.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by David E Gehlke
March 19th, 2013

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