(All Album Reviews by Phil Jackson)
Heaven was a local band when film footage of them appearing at the Isle of Wight festival drew the attention of producer Rikki Farr who secured a recording for CBS. Sadly despite some positive reviews of the resulting 1971 double album they did not achieve much success and split up. The album is captured in its entirety here in remastered form with some concession to the original 14-sided sleeve in a fold out shot of the band standing at the foot of a rather large totem pole.
The most obvious reference point is Chicago Transit Authority evident early on in the crisp brass lines and a Terry Kath influence in the guitar player with lots of staccato and wah-wah and later on in the high paced drumming surely inspired by Danny Seraphine. A singer who sounds like Captain Beefheart. is a touch incongruous but still!
In contrast the instrumental “This Time Tomorrow” takes a leaf out of the Jethro Tull and Focus book and not just because of the appearance of flute but because of the elements of folk, blues and classical, with some smart drum breaks, clearly delineating this as an attempt to push boundaries in a more overtly progressive rock style
The high tempo music on “Come Back” also reminded me of the original (Gary Moore’s) Skid Row.
“Song For Chaos” for me the best composition, the musicians stretching out across various moods and atmospheres with some great brass solos- piccolo trumpet and clarinet are also used giving a wide variety of sounds. Further on the music is more blues rock in style.
The penultimate track “Dawning” is a lovely pastoral piece with prominent flute, starting with bird sounds and waves crashing with one of the three singers sounding very like Jon Anderson.
A string quartet introduces the closer “Got to Get Away”, the most immediate and infectious number on the CD, nearly 9 bluesy minutes with eastern rhythms and percussion giving way to passage of play reminiscent of CTA’s “I’m A Man”.
Heaven show great potential on this album without necessarily having the immediacy or strength of material of contemporaries Blood, Sweat and Tears, CTA and, to a lesser extent, If.
Esoteric has made a marvelous job of remastering and repackaging what has become a bit of a collectors item. Recommended for fans of progressive jazz rock.