Essentially the vision of songwriter/singer and guitarist Jason McIver, Heathen Eyes is now in its in its second incarnation, after a period of finding their feet, both musically and professionally, with members coming and going for various reasons…
Born at MAINZ, Auckland in 2010, the original (up to) 5-piece recorded a self-titled six track EP, but Jason has since removed all trace of it due to the “demo quality of the recording – not to mention the complete change in line up. That said, the early version band were still motivated enough to tour NZ, get a couple of songs played on The Rock, gig in Sydney, tour with Melbourne band The Eternal and come second in the NZ Battle of the Bands.
Jason was judged the in-school Songwriter Of The Year both years he was at MAINZ, which enabled the band to record for two days for free at Roundhead Studios, where they tracked their brilliant song Ocea.
It could be said to be the start of the bands rebirth, a process Jason describes as “finding the perfect line-up. Things seem now to be solidifying rapidly for Heathen Eyes with Chris Birch (ex- the now defunct Kasium) on drums, Billy Todman on bass, Paul Lawrence on keyboards and latest addition Kieran Cooper (Kasium’s vocalist) coming in on second guitar.
They have been focusing on gelling as a group, practising some ‘old and more brand new songs, but havent just been sitting around their industrial practice space in Henderson, West Auckland. Heathen Eyes headlined their own bill at the Kings Arms last November and have also played Wellington, Gisborne and Hamilton in the interim.
They have a single release planned for this April (tracked themselves then handed over to the golden touch of producer Zorran Mendonsa), three gigs in Auckland and a tour lined up with Aussie doom metal band Fear Of The Setting Sun in June. Showing real commitment, Jason has even spunked up the distribution fee for Ocea to be included on a Blunt (Australia) magazine CD compilation, with a circulation of 20,000 copies.
So what do Heathen Eyes sound like? It may sound metal, but its big choruses, huge guitars, dynamic, melodic, textures and sweeps and shifts… and I won’t compare it to any other bands, even if Chino Moreno, Jerry Cantrell and Billy C. are inspirations as songwriters. The name was part-inspired by David Bowie’s 2002 ‘Heathen’ album, the logo partly based on the Pisces symbol.
When I ask Jason how far he wants to take it, he describes Heathen Eyes as his job. That’s alongside working fulltime at MusicWorks, playing covers in the weekends (as a solo act), and then everything else a budding band requires. With a great new line-up, and the input of the other members to add to the already promising mix, I’d recommend keeping your metal ears on this seriously cool band.