Haven Effect: The Storm Reborn
By Greg Hartman
Shawn Hoyt and Joe Heinecke form the core of the Grand Valley’s longest running bands - Haven Effect. Playing as a full band or duo, they play monthly at venues such as Cruisers, Enzo’s and RnR Sports Bar in Montrose. Their longevity has given them enough material to cover a full night of 3 hours, including a solid set of original music. That’s the surface of Haven Effect and enough to be interested in their first full album release, however the story and legacy of their music goes back over 20 years and involves important chapters of the Grand Valley music scene.
It all began with two friends starting to make music in high school. Shawn Hoyt and Aaron Seibert began making and performing music, drawing from the alternative rock sound of the 90’s. They eventually formed the successful group Riverseed. The group regularly played shows across Colorado and Utah including many big shows in Grand Junction. The band was completed with Joe Heinecke, drummer Jake Cram, and Jessica Seibert on Keys and Violin. They were offered a recording deal and had just completed the process when a split occurred between friends.
Aaron had been working on a side project with Jessica that resulted in the longest running local band in the Grand Valley, Jack + Jill. Aaron ended up leaving Riverseed as the group disagreed over time schedules and tour plans. The album was finished, but never released. Eventually, Shawn put it up on ReverbNation for posterity (check it out for early versions of J+J and Haven Effect songs). Riverseed then fell apart just as they were about to take the next step, but the split resulted in forming two successful bands and some great songwriting.
Angry at the break up, Shawn found solace writing and recording new music. The songs became the backbone of Haven Effect and are featured prominently on The Storm Reborn. Many years past with Jack + Jill and Haven Effect seeing a rotating group of drummers and bassists. Joe left for the Domican Republic to build his Chiropractic practice and Shawn found another successful band, Concrete Effect. Years passed, Joe returned to the group and Haven Effect became their soul project as a duo or with a full band. They released a three song EP, Transcendence and found their niche playing up to 3 hour long sets at regional venues.
20 years of music experience behind them, Aaron, Shawn, and Joe have reunited as Haven Effect. Aaron has moved to drums, with Shawn and Joe on guitar and vocals. Rounding out the band is Johnny Gutierrez of The Wrong Impressions, whose addition had opened more vocal opportunities for the band. All four members are accomplished singers and multi-instrumentalists, with Shawn and Aaron occasionally swapping guitar and drums. Moving forward, all four members are excited to see what new music they can create. However, the first goal was to summarize the band’s past with The Storm Reborn.
The 10 track album was recorded with Taylor Riley at Fusion Audio Solutions. Guest drummers from the band’s past were brought in with Gabe Perez, Jack Cram, and Damon Orbello credited with a song a piece. Aaron provided drums and backing vocals while Shawn and Joe replicated what they do best live - blended acoustic and electric guitars and vocal harmonies. Songs were pulled from 20 years of song writing, leading to an eclectic rock album that ranges from metal to alternative rock.
The album opens a heavy guitar riff for “The Chase”. The song features soaring harmonies over heavy alternative rock while lyrically a fight against drug addiction is described. The albums themes and sounds were designed to flow together, with the first songs depicting a life falling apart and later songs showing a path forward.
The second song “Soul Knot” is a Riverseed original updated with cleaner guitar tone. The progressive rocker starts with a didgeridoo building into an instrumental and vocal crescendo for nearly 2 minutes. The song deal with lyrical interplay how one’s soul is not enough for meaning while building sonically. At just past 4 minutes, Aaron has an impressive spoken word section that keeps the listener guessing. The epic 6:37 song should win over new and old fans, as it has aged well and has been immaculately recorded.
“Losing Control” introduces the third musical style of the album, acoustic alternative rock. When I mentioned how it recalled late 90’s rockers Days of the New, the group smiled and told the tale of Riverseed opening for that very band at the old Far East building on North Avenue. The song was one of the first Shawn wrote after the break up of the band and parting ways with his friends. It was original called “Acoustic Breakdown”, which is a solid explanation of the lyrics.
The fourth track, “Its All Around”, first appeared on the Transcendence EP in 2016. The track was remastered for the new release and fits in as the final song of sorrow on the album, where anger is expressed at all the negativity in life. “One Chance” is the emerging glimmer of hope and another Riverseed original. Encouraging lyrics and upbeat alternative rock encourage the listener to embrace one chance to make a difference for the better. The song serves as a thematic turn around, although it was originally written before most songs on the album.
Track six is another EP remaster, “Gone to the Light”. The track was one of the first true Haven Effect songs that features Shawn and Joe trading off vocals while layering guitars. The song has Shawn mixing up his vocal delivery between harmonic singing and an aggressive, deeper approach. Following is “The Answer”, an earnest alt rocker demanding that your own happiness is up to you. The chorus is an example of what Haven Effect does well, soaring harmonies over hard rock guitar riffs.
“Down in Haste” was remastered with Jake Cram providing a new drum track. The track was also featured in the 2017 Grand Valley Live collection and the new mastering and drums improve an already memorable song. Its the last alternative rock song before the album shifts in a heavier finale.
“The Storm Reborn” is a hard rock song that could well be called heavy metal. The song was written after a 6 member version of Haven Effect broke up before it focused on its current instrumentation. While one could observe that Shawn gets songs out of band break ups like a certain pop start does from relationships, the approach here is less of misery or anger, but focused determination to move forward and do better. The hard guitar and vocal harmonies could have been taken straight out of Seattle in the early 90’s, and it has the authenticity to not feel like nostalgia.
“State of Things” ends the album with an exclamation point. Shawn and Aaron’s dual vocals show what 20 years of experience can achieve, while the lyrics tear through fighting against the modern world to maintain your own identity. The song is placed last to keep the album from fading out and promising more. With four talented, experienced musicians working on new material, the next album from Haven Effect promises to expand what the individual members have accomplished. I can hardly wait.
The Storm Reborn will be released physically on October 18th at Warehouse 2565 with Jack + Jill and The Wrong Impressions providing support. Copies will also be available at Cruisers on Saturday, October 19th with Haven Effect playing from 9:30 on. The digital release is scheduled for October 31st.