Formed in 1996 by Ethan Matthews (synthesizers and guitars), Nate Howard (guitars) and Nick Cipriano (drums), Greyhaven quickly achieved a certain success thanks to their first demo that contained the song "Downfall" and the suite of 21 minutes "Vessel". After this promising premiere the group decided to proof several singers, a position that was occupied finally by Brian Francis, thanks to the help of Matt Guillory, of the horrible Dali´s Dilemma. The quartet records their first and homonymous album and Howard leaves the band after having signed with Rectangular Records. Well, hot from the oven here you have the review of one of the most promising bands in the current metal-prog scene.
Metal-progressive did I say?... Yes, but don't think that all that is metal-prog gets a bad review from me. Although the German groups that try to make the XXVII part of the "Keeper of the seven keys", the high school students that seek to play a hundred thousand notes in a compass, and the guitar heroes that emulate Blackmore or Malmsteen, make me feel sick, there is always a piece of my hard-rocking heart that is grateful for the irruption of metal bands that try to make something really new, like Greyhaven.
The instrumental introduction "Ride the horizon" (2:24) already shows that this is not a band with the previously defines negative features. A powerful instrumental -not heavy- based on some truly original and clean keyboards and an effective guitar make the listener be predisposed already to listen to something different. The first vocal piece "Setting sun" (5:46) could be recommend to the follower of the most technical heavy as well as to any crazy fan of Goth-doom, with the caveat that in this case Greyhaven has much more "punch" and originality that most bands in the mentioned styles. The keyboard backdrop is very important in this band, so the final structure, in spite of tending to be hard, always leaves a place for the intervention of Matthews, who displays a futurist intervention in this piece. Francis' voice, very well modulated, is still a typical "hard" voice although with less affectation. "Mirror my eyes" (9:04) begins with some intricate rhythms that are alternated with more standard but more interesting moments. The curiosity of this band is that in the instrumental moments, instead of playing crazy riffs, there is always a place for original interventions in which Matthews displays his savior faire with the synthesizers. If you wonder if Greyhaven is able to maintain the quality during a 9 minute song, the answer is affirmative without a doubt.
"Downfall" (6:14) is the topic that Metallica should have composed for ...and justice for all to be a heavy progressive album and in which power and subtlety cohabit in a mysterious harmony. As a final guideline, a superb melodic guitar solo. "Approaching the twilight" (5:18) is a very mysterious and kaleidoscopic song, with encircling synthesizers in an infinity of crescendos and with some interventions of keyboards toward the end that remind from Jean Michel Jarre!. It is impossible to show more originality. "Shards of sky" (11:09) is the longest song in the album and one in which the Greyhaven machine slows down a bit, this time to seek to do something already seen years ago. Nevertheless, musicians play soundly when confronting dozens of rhythm changes. "Solitude surrounding" (9:01) is in the beginning an atypical slow song and with a very experimental and really progressive structure, with some blinding arrangements and a really strange end. "Greyhaven" (5:34) it is another turn of the screw inside the concept of the band. A very psychedelic keyboard wraps the voices in a Floyd ambient to go into electronic sidewalks. The best in the CD. For the end, "Cold night by the fortress" (8:24) follows the line of the precedent piece until turning into a more descriptive and luminous composition.
In definitive, and just as another progVisions partner commented, it is necessary for this type of bands to exist. Greyhaven possesses few tics that link them to the badly called heavy prog (amongst others the singer), but in a 90% they are shown as a very original group that I believe that will give a lot to speak about in the future. With this I don't mean this is a proposal that the fans of After Crying or Yes will love, but I believe that the hardest sector of our readers can find a pleasing surprise with this work. The rest, anyway, wont lose anything trying it.