April 26, 2022

Heir Apparent is an American hard rock/progressive metal band that was formed back in 1983 and appears to have had a very complicated on/off history. So much so that the band has only ever produced three albums in Graceful Inheritance in 1986, One Small Voice in 1989 and then a long wait until A View From Below in 2018. It does actually appear that the band is back on hold again which may or not be permanent and I assume that only the guitarist and band creator Terry Gorle can answer that question.

The band had a long gestation before actually becoming Heir Apparent and a number of musicians were involved during the formative stage but it was with vocalist Paul Davidson, bassist Derek Peace, drummer Ray Black and guitarist Gorle that the band released the debut album in 1986. The album has now been made available again in remastered form as it seems that it has been very difficult to get hold of and is now out again in CD and vinyl version. The album is regarded as something of a lost classic of American metal from the 1980s and just a cursory listen shows that it is very much American rock of that period but with a touch of NWOBHM too especially as there are some similarities with Iron Maiden. However, what will really hit you is that the band is so much like Queensrÿche that it is unbelievable and singer Paul Davidson is a dead ringer for the imperious Geoff Tate. Now, this could be entirely co-incidental but I think it is more a case that the American metal legends have been a huge influence on Heir Apparent making this album very much a homage to all things Queensrÿche. Remember also that this album was releases in the same year as Rage For Order and comparisons are so easy to be seen on Graceful Inheritance. Is this a bad thing you may ask and I guess this depends upon your point of view. For me, it is fine for a band to have influences and to delight in showing them and if you have more bands producing quality metal like Queensrÿche then welcome to the party.

Graceful Inheritance is 47-minutes of heavy metal magic with plenty of progressive metal flair with Terry Gorle laying down some quite exceptional guitar with truly thrilling Tate like vocals from Davidson meaning that he screams, soars and powerfully struts through a great selection of classic metal tracks. The album is very atmospheric and plays like a concept album even though it isn’t and if you are a fan of Rage For Order and The Warning (and who isn’t) then you really should be blown away by this simply marvellous heavy metal album from over 35-years ago. Great vocals and simply amazing guitars take you back in time to relish an album that all progressive metal fans should have in their collection. Many of the guitar solos are straight out of the Iron Maiden song book but what’s not to like about that?

The record company has overseen a great remastering of a seminal album and, hopefully, they will have similar plans for 1989s One Small Voice too.

Graceful Inheritance

  1. Entrance (0:38)
  2. Another Candle (3:56)
  3. The Servant (3:25)
  4. Tear Down the Walls (4:34)
  5. Running from the Thunder (2:59)
  6. The Cloak (3:27)
  7. R.I.P. (Live) (4:59)
  8. Hands of Destiny (3:27)
  9. Keeper of the Reign (4:46)
  10. Dragon’s Lair (3:28)
  11. Masters of Invasion (5:07)
  12. Nightmare (Faces in the Dark) (2:41)
  13. A.N.D. … Dogro Lived on (3:42)