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Heyoka - 2012 - "The Spirit of Revelation"

(70:16, ShroomAngel Records)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Thunderdreamer 6:25
2.  Wooden Birds 4:49
3.  The Quest 3:48
4.  And the Pessimist Fled 3:49
5.  Metamorphosis 6:37
6.  The Monotony of Change 3:31
7.  Change My Ways 4:42
8.  The Trilogy 23:48
9.  It's All Gonna Be Alright 4:03
10. Video Madness 4:07
11. Disco Sux 4:37

LINEUP:

Michael Grothues  vocals; flute
David Alcocer  guitars; vocals
Dito Garcia  guitars; vocals
Pat Hood  basses; vocals
Gerardo Ramirez  drums 

Prolusion. The US band HEYOKA was mainly active in the 70s, although their career expanded sometime into the 80s before they called it a day. While they were a popular live act back in the day they never released an album while active, although quite a few singles were released, from what I understand. "The Spirit of Revelation" is a collection of materials the band recorded at the tail end of the 70s and in the early 80s, and was released through the US label ShroomAngel Records in 2012.

Analysis. I guess that just about the only reason for these guys never to release an album back when they were active is that there was no dedicated label interest to sign them. Possibly because they would have been in competition with other artists, possibly because the labels back then wouldn't have know how to market this band. Thankfully, releasing an album isn't the massive financial investment today, which I guess is the main reason for Heyoka to finally get their material released, more than a generation after the band called it a day. Their style of music is an odd one, at least to European ears. A recurring feature throughout is flute details of the kind that will make just about anyone namedrop Jethro Tull straight away. The style, the delivery, the manner in which the flute is used and even the sound carries the telltale signs of Ian Anderson. Which isn't a bad thing, unless you are amongst those who are only able to enjoy bands not directly inspired by others. When that is said, Heyoka isn't a Jethro Tull copy band. The flute and occasional passages do contain telltale signs of the early 70s material of that band, but Heyoka also adds a few more details to the proceedings. Early on Indian chants and folk music details are used on opening track Thunderdreamer, but as this production unfolds there's more of a distinct US sound to the proceedings by way of other details. For progressive rock fans the most interesting among those are certain tendencies to include symphonic keyboard textures and vocal harmonies of the kind that invites to associations to Kansas, with a select few thematic and arrangement details also to some extent being similar to that classic band. Up to and including some Americana sounding subtle details here and there. More prominent throughout are sequences that appear to have a firm foundation in southern rock, adding a touch of Allman Brothers and similar bands to the proceedings. You might describe this production as a southern rock oriented blend of Jethro Tull and Kansas I guess, arguably with a more secure foothold in progressive rock than in southern rock, as firmly documented by the massive three part composition The Trilogy, an affair that in just under 25 minutes of playtime also manages to include a few jazzrock details in addition to the aforementioned sounds and styles. The final cuts on this CD come across as rather superfluous however. If these compositions were written later on or if they were tucked in at the end of the CD I don't know, but It's All Gonna Be Alright, Video Madness and Disco Sux are all pieces of music that fails to inspire on any level. Fairly bland and rather dated mainstream rock and hard rock summarize that trio of songs quite nicely, and especially Video Madness is a creation that has been ravaged by the passage of time. Not a good song at all as far as I'm concerned, but I can understand that it might have been a fascinating tune back in the day when video games were still something most people thought was somewhat exotic.

Conclusion. Heyoka produced some compelling material back in the day, and especially the material they recorded in the 70s comes across as both high-quality and compelling. A fairly equal blend of British progressive rock in the style of Jethro Tull and southern rock, with liberal amounts of Kansas flavoring may be an appropriate summary of the main contents, harder edged vintage progressive rock with a firm mainstream orientation and folk music inspired details a more generic description that might be used. And merits a check by those who know or suspect that this is music that may appeal to them.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 7, 2015
The Rating Room


Related Links:

ShroomAngel Records
Heyoka


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