SAINT: Heaven Fell

Saint return with a stable line-up from 2020’s The Calf, an album which featured the newest singer David Nelson on vocals. His raspier, blues-rock vocal style imparted a different quality to the Saint sound, but the guitars of Jerry Johnson and Matt P. Smith – who had both contributed on 2014’s Broad is the Gate – anchored those songs to the Saint legacy sound. They, along with now veteran Saint drummer/producer Jared Knowland, return to deliver riveting performances on the evocatively titled Heaven Fell.

Saint has morphed their line-up so many times over their 30-year career that it has been amazing they can keep their sound so consistent for the same span of years. Richard Lynch is certainly the “linchpin” that has kept it all together and he has once again produced another quality recording with Heaven Fell – a ripper of an album featuring 11 all-new original tracks.

Right from the lead-off track, “Holier than Thou” with its Iron Maiden gallop, there is a sense these songs lean more heavily in the metal direction. Heaven Fell is comprised of a solid mix of middle tempo/faster numbers as Lynch (4 songs), Johnson (2 songs) and Smith (6 songs) share the writing. Perfectly placed guitar solos and a noticeable uptick in Knowland’s percussive aggression serve to metal-up the Saint credibility and firmly plant their flag in the classic power metal camp.

“Creature” is another faster paced number with plenty of aggression, Nelson’s harsher style here channeling the tone of the lyrics. One of the strongest tracks would be Lynch’s “Dance of the Gods” with its scathing lyrics (“doing the cathedral twist”) and catchy chorus. The mid-song shred solo is followed by a chant section before the riffs return to drive to the end.

“Morning Star” shares fantastic melodies with a nice groove rhythm in ‘70’s metal fashion and features a wonderful guitar outro. This is followed by “Make Believe,” a low-swing groove rocker acknowledging the true nature of man.

“There is an evil in us all … Start takin’ control/Stop playin’ the role/Cause you are the one/The one that’s make believe”

Interestingly, “Chosen One” has a bit of the Queensryche vibe going with the guitar leads, especially during the quieter sections of the song as it breaks out into the guitar solo and with the drumming during the outro. In contrast, “Vengeance” is full-on power metal bliss with plenty of pace, double bass and attitude. Song also represents the most collaborative writing effort on the release.

Johnson’s “Fallen Armor” has that distinctively Saint/Priest quality. For me, both musically and lyrically – partly due to Knowland’s percussive hammerings – this is one of the songs that really defines the Saint sound circa 2022. It’s followed by the fast-paced “The Exile of Cain,” yet another brilliant song reminiscent of Jacobs Dream, tricked out with another shred guitar solo.

For me, the only moment of disappointment would be the plodding “Words of Wisdom.” While I love the lyrics, this song musically just falls short of the glory of the rest of the album. Thankfully, the title track is such a Saint classic with its bass heavy Accept riff, straight four-on-the-floor kick beat and revelational chants, “When Heaven fell, we met our Maker – now and forever.”

The CD version comes with 12-page booklet and Silver Foil Trading Card Series #115.

In an era where music has become so processed, these songs represent a refreshing rawness of power – the best qualities of metal both classic and contemporary. Heaven Fell joins the growing collection of lyrically uplifting, musically superb releases this year within the realm of Chris-centric rock/metal.

Retroactive Records

Track Listing:

1. Holier Than Thou (4:25)

2. Creature (3:51)

3. Dance of the Gods (4:00)

4. Morning Star (4:19)

5. Make Believe (3:48)

6. Chosen One (5:29)

7. Vengeance (3:24)

8. Fallen Armor (4:14)

9. The Exile of Cain (3:57)

10. Words of Wisdom (4:21)

11. Heaven Fell (3:57)

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2 thoughts on “SAINT: Heaven Fell

  1. Great review! The only point I would take issue with is Words of Wisdom. While it is plodding, the guitar riffs at the beginning are monstrously powerful. I love that song! A classic second to last song, a la Sinner Peace and Bended Knee. Thanks for keeping people informed on this great band!

  2. I enjoyed this review, The album really smokes! everyone brought their best game. I may disagree concerning the song “Words of Wisdom”, I picked up a very Doomy, Black Sabbath vibe with the song, I really enjoy it. and would say the album is all Killer, No Filler.

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