New Haven-based HEELE is the prog rock project of Michael Henss. Prior to working on HEELE, Michael played drums in the band Dead Wives and played guitar in the band Ungifted, though he’s been actively working on songs for HEELE since 2015. Recently, Henss has released his debut EP, Pathos.
Densely layered and prog-inflected, Pathos is driven by pulsating drums, dream-like vocals, and an interesting juxtaposition of dissonant and melodic movements. In a mere four tracks, HEELE covers a lot of sonic ground, genre-hopping between stadium sized prog rock, dreamy 90s revival, and eastern sounding instrumentals. Driven by dreams of hope and loss, there are somber and brooding emotional undertones that glue all of these different styles together into a cohesive piece. It’s dark moments are often balanced with a cloud-parting, harmonious lightness, providing both ominous unease and catharsis sometimes in the same song. In addition to genuinely good songwriting and composition, the EP features excellent production, with each crystalline guitar, rhythmic track, and vocal line reverberating with genuinely affecting clarity.
Listen to Pathos by HEELE on Bandcamp and Spotify below: