Heavy Bones makes a splash with their debut album “Heavy Bones.” Formed in 1990 by vocalist Joel Ellis and guitarist Gary Hoey (who incidentally had just released a solo album in Europe), they had formed the core of Heavy Bones. Later, they added Frankie Banali (many rock fans may remember him as the drummer from one of the ’80’s hottest heavy metal bands, Quiet Riot) and bassist Rex Tennyson, a self-proclaimed “man of few words and much music.” Hoey explains, “To us, Heavy Bones means it gets down into your bones. It’s a vibe, to us, bones is another form of the soul.” Heavy Bones’ album does much more than get into your soul, it affixes itself to your mind.
The album starts off with “Hand That Feeds.” At first I would have called this song a typical heavy metal sound-alike song, but once you start listening you really get pulled in.
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It’s almost impossible to pinpoint what made me keep the CD player on. It could have been the incredible beat of the drums, or the guitar playing, but at that point I really didn’t care, I just wanted to hear more. “4 a.m. T.M.” starts out heavy but then settles itself into a kind of awesome groove that carries you throughout the song.
“Turn it on” (also on the Olympic Sampler cassette) proves Joel Ellis as a phenomenal lead vocalist. In the first two songs, Joel spends most of his time screaming and belting out notes that makes you wonder if he knows that he has a phenomenal voice but when you get to “Turn …,” it seems as if he starts to realize what you knew from the beginning of the tape: Joel’s voice is perfect when he relaxes and leaves well enough alone. “Turn …” is lyrically one of the best songs on the tape. “I see an angel with beautiful wings and she just don’t want to fly, so if you want it, you can have it all, turn it on, turn it on, every dream you can dream, turn it on, turn it on, you’ve got to reach for the sky.” These are just some of the lyrics that keep you permanently attached to this CD.
“Anna” was a musical godsend as was “Dead End Street” and “Where Eagles Fly.” These four songs prove that a hard rock band doesn’t have to go off with guitars ablazing to impress or prove their masculinity through loud ear searing guitar riffs. “Dead End Street” is a song about survival, more or less, and I found “Where Eagles Fly” is a little bit harder to interpret. This song gets a lot harder in the middle, but that only adds to the strength of the song. All in all, its still a pretty phenomenal song.
“Enormodome,” written with Nuno Betten-court of Extreme, is an astounding solo and “Light of Day” starts out loud and fast (by now, loud and fast would be highly enjoyable) but the song seems to lighten up, but still keeps you very interested. Amazingly the vocals, guitar, bass and drums are all in sync. It’s almost like they could read each others’ minds. This obviously isn’t Frankie Banali and crew, it’s an actual band (something fans haven’t seen in a long time). “Your Love Won’t Let Me Down” is about, what else, sex, but if you think about it, if Heavy Bones was in the running to be “just a typical hard rock band,” they’d be six songs short. But you really can’t mind this song because of the lyrics. A warning to all listeners though: The chorus is extremely catchy. You’ll be humming it the next day.
“Beating Heart” is a song about compassion. Sometimes during this song you’d wish that Ellis would just sing a half step higher, but I guess that that’s just part of the appeal of the song. This is yet another catchy tune by Heavy Bones. “Summer’s in the Rain” is a swampy, bluesy, country-ish song about a girl from Louisiana who ran off to L.A. to become a star and “Where the Living’s Easy” is just about a feel-good philosophy and living day to day. Both songs are very radio worthy and “Summer’s …” shows that Heavy Bones is a very versatile band musically. There never was a song that was unbearable to listen to on this CD.
There was always a catchy chorus or an amazing riff that caught your eye and attention. Heavy Bones songs have a special dreaminess about them that comes from the soul. It makes you hope that the only bones your dog brings home are Heavy Bones! n