Heights is a three piece instrumental prog metal band from the UK that eschews many of the musical characteristics that most bands in their genre depend on to be interesting. They are not djent, they do not play at 100 mph and they don’t ever overplay. The band consists of guitarist Al Heslop, bassist John Hopkin and perhaps most notably TesseracT drummer Jamie Postones. Postones involvement immediately gives the band some creditability and also makes the lack of “djent” all the more interesting.
The album title is a mouthful: “Phantasia On The High Processions Of Sun, Moon And Countless Stars Above.” While the title is very overwhelming, the music is intelligent and often quite understated. The band use elements of jazz, experimental music and certainly prog. The songs all have basically just the 3 of them playing with little to no overdubbing and melody is the driving force. Yes the album has some great playing and some complexity (see “Time Dilation”) but it never becomes too much. The hooks can be from Heslop’s playing (and often are) but it can be the rhythm section with a specific groove.
It might even be hard to call Heights a “metal” band simply because of the lack of crunch and distortion. For example, the muscular riff that opens “Solar (Bringer Of Chaos), Lunar (Bringer Of Light)” is thick but not pummeling at all. It quickly yields to Heslop’s melodic, echoing lines. “Perseids” is quite hard but I still think it’s more like something the Aristocrats would try versus Animals As Leaders. “Everlasting” (the closing track) is another prime example of how the band are complex but still not out to scare the listener. Fans of TesseracT probably are well aware of Heights but people who think “metal” bands are just too heavy should give Heights a spin. “Fantasia…” is a great album that rewards the listener every time.