Genre: Heavy Metal
Label:Arkeyn Steel Records
A huge amount of time on my musical activities during the last 25 years is spent on the process of tracking down recordings from the worldwide Metal underground. I would often catch myself totally ignoring a -for example- new release, simply because I am obsessed by the non stop listening of a 30 year old demo recording by a band of -then- teenagers. It is sometimes difficult to describe the amount of talent and passion that is often captured on such recordings and how amazing the result is sounding even today.
I was thinking of all the above while listening to the latest forthcoming reissue on Arkeyn Steel Records. A CD featuring the complete recordings of SAFE HAVEN from Connecticut, USA.
The band was founded back in 1990 and made two official releases: The “Cries of Mercy” single which was released on tape in 1993, including the same titled, six minute long epic and the “Savage Harvest” demo which was released back in 1995.
In both those releases the band presents a magnificent mixture of Heavy, Power and Progressive Metal. Their enigmatic melodies, the epic vocal approaching and the complex still catchy riffing, generates a unique musical development that was captured on tape.
There is a very specific form of vocal approaching in many of their songs that would often bring to my mind the melancholic vibes of the early to mid 90s German Progressive Metal scene. I could say the same about some of their riffs as well. I really do not know if the band had access to specific -and now classic- German Prog releases back then, but at the end of the day this sonic similarity that I am try to describe could be just a coincidence. Because as we all know the German Prog scene of the 90s was inspired by the corresponding US Metal scene. No matter what, I am making the above reference to emphasize on how amazing the stuff of SAFE HAVEN is.
Another feature that I quite enjoyed in the band’s music is the way that they are combining their influences from the classic Melodic Heavy Metal globe on their songs. For sure epics like “Second Wind”, “Cries of Mercy” or “Savage Harvest” are mainly based on a development that would often reflect this early FATES WARNING or early QUEENSRYCHE vibe, but the bands leave enough space for some catchy and straightly arranged riffing that corresponds to the classic, melodic Heavy Metal standards. Magnificent combination!
And yes all the above described stuff was played by a bunch of teenagers back on the day. It still sounds unbelievable to me.
There is a lot of bonus material included on the Arkeyn Steel reissue. For example the band’s first and practically unreleased demo from 1991 -given only to some friends on tapes with self made covers back on the day-, the unreleased 1992 demo recording from WVOF radio plus lots of other demo and live recordings that eventually became the bonus tracks of this “Savage Harvest” CD release.
But there is a lot more to discover on the reissue package: Chris Allen, the band’s singer, wrote the biographical liner notes included on the booklet, revealing the bands story from the very early days, until the reunion live shows that took place on 2017 and 2019 -SAFE HAVEN were officially disbanded back in 98-.
Kostas Athanasogloy developed all the artwork of the CD, presenting an upgraded version of the original “Savage Harvest” demo cover and lots of never before seen photos are included together with the complete song lyrics.
All the sound material has been completely remastered by Kostas Scandalis at Infinity Studio in Thessaloniki, Greece, doing justice to the band’s recordings.
Many members of SAFE HAVEN have been involved to other worth checking bands of the huge Connecticut scene. For example drummer Rich Lemley participated on the Progressive / Power Metal gods BEYOND REALITY. Guitarist Wayne Petroskey shared his talent on the Melodic Power / Progsters SILENT SHADOWS -their Mini CD has also been reissued on Arkeyn Steel Records-. Guitarist Matt Douglas have played on the great Heavy Metallers CROSSING RUBICON. Well as you may have realized Connecticut Steel have some great bands to offer and without doubt SAFE HAVEN is one of the greatest.
If you are still after some fine Power / Prog Metal, touched by a unique vibe of classic, melodic Heavy Metal, filled with melody and emotion then do not miss the chance to discover this great band!