Seventh Void - _Heaven Is Gone_
(Big Vin Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
In the years since Type O Negative first erupted out of the bowels of the underground decrying the virtues of wearing wolf skin boots and smoking clove cigarettes, there has existed a growing contingent of both fans and naysayers alike who have touted the Brooklyn quartet's diminutive guitarist, Kenny Hickey, as the band's unsung hero. Not quite as prone to the temper tantrums of his colleague, Pete Steele, and a consistently reliable force on stage, it was almost always just going to be a matter of time before Hickey went into business for himself, and although he has been at pains to stress that Seventh Void will in no way detract from the responsibilities of his day job, _Heaven Is Gone_ isn't shy in establishing itself as a musical entity that commands respect on its own merits.

Like Type O Negative, Seventh Void takes its cue from the original doom purveyors, Black Sabbath, but sheers away any and all traces of The Beatles, Joy Division and Bauhaus influences that have long been the staple of the New York collective's sound. Subtly replacing these with gentle wafts of early Soundgarden (evidenced vividly on the opening riff to "Closing In"), seventies rock and Alice in Chains, _Heaven Is Gone_ crafts a sonic aura that evokes visions of vast open stretches of Nevada desert. Accompanied by fellow Type O'er, Johnny Kelly, as well as Hank Hell (bass) and Matt Brown (guitar), the disc's pace is deliberately plodding and the atmosphere almost always on point -- a modern take on a halcyon era of big, fuck-off riffs, blasted through even bigger amps to arenas of beer-swilling, denim-clad headbangers. Whether Seventh Void will evolve into a draw of that stature only time will tell, but they certainly have the chops to impress. Both the title track and "Killing You Slow" are piercingly heavy, awash with hooks that will tattoo themselves on your brain. "Descent" is to _Heaven Is Gone_ what "N.I.B." was to _Black Sabbath_, while "Last Walk in the Light" isn't a million miles removed from the classic hard rock of Lynard Skynard.

Not without its misfires ("Drown Inside" should never have made it on to the album's final cut), _Heaven Is Gone_ isn't simply a must for Type O Negative fans. It's a thoroughly enjoyable, expertly constructed effort with all the potential to step over genre boundaries. Ignore it at your peril.


(article published 21/5/2009)

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