In case you are into metal, particularly European power metal, you should know the name of Kai Hansen – one of the founders of Helloween, the heart and soul of Gamma Ray and a longtime friend of Blind Guardian.
But I won’t blame anyone for not being familiar with Heavenwood, a Portuguese goth metal/rock band. Okay, I’ve been a huge fan of their “Swallow” album for years, but that’s only because I run into it by chance in the 90s on a shady CD-ROM mp3 compilation. Yes that was a thing in Russia almost twenty years ago – pirated CD-ROMs full of low-quality mp3 music. I have long stopped having anything in common with illegal digital content (one of the biggest reasons being that with the fact that I listen to music that is primarily produced by those for whom it’s not a “day job” but an expensive hobby, every illegal download means that this musician has fewer and fewer reasons to actually keep at it), but those random compilations did serve a great job of introducing me to amazing artists whose work I have been following ever since.
I can’t say I have been following Heavenwood lately, though – they disbanded quite a while ago, and I thought it was for good. Today I found out they actually reunited in 2008, and are fairly active on facebook now, which is a lovely surprise – although I have yet to listen to their latest two releases.
Okay, but what does a Portuguse band have in common with a German singer/guitarist?
Well… this awesome 1998 ballad:
Hard to pinpoint why, but I love vocal duets (or “trios”, for that matter, but it’s a rare thing). Multiple vocalists interacting was one of the things that drew me into opera (yes that’s right, I do not come from some posh family where it’s, like, a hereditary vice; my love for opera is my own choice). And here we get a particularly interesting example of two male singers with contrasting voices duetting in a “dark” genre, where those higher parts are usually reserved for women.