Heir Apparent (band)

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Heir Apparent
OriginSeattle, Washington, U.S.
GenresHeavy metal, power metal, progressive metal
Years active1983–1989, 2000–2019
LabelsNW Metalworx, VIC, No Remorse, Hellion, Metal Blade, Capitol, Black Dragon

Heir Apparent is an American heavy/progressive metal band from Seattle, formed in 1983.


Heir Apparent was formed in 1983 in Seattle by guitarist Terry Gorle.[1] Vocalist Paul Davidson, bassist Derek Peace, and drummer Jim Kovach joined with Gorle to form Heir Apparent's original lineup. In July 1984, the band entered Triad Studios in Redmond, WA to record a five-song demo[2] that received local airplay on KISW and KZOK. A month after recording their first demo in 1984 Jim Kovach was replaced by Ray Schwartz (using the name Raymond Black). This lineup recorded Heir Apparent's debut studio album Graceful Inheritance.[1] The album was released for European market in January 1986 by an independent French label Black Dragon Records.[3][4] Supported by UK's Metal Hammer magazine, Heir Apparent toured France, Netherlands, and Germany in May and June 1986, originally as support act, but ending as headliner on tour with Savage Grace. Germany's Rock Hard gave the album a rating of 49/50 points in the February 1986 issue.[5] Encouraged by good sales, Black Dragon re-released the album in October 1986, this time on CD, making it one of the first CD's released by an independent label in Europe.[citation needed] Graceful Inheritance was never released in the US in the 1980s, the group's home country. Graceful Inheritance was ranked No. 188 in the German hardcover book, Best of Rock and Metal – Top 500 Albums of All Time,[6] published in 2005.

Following the departure of lead vocalist Paul Davidson in 1987, Steve Benito took over the singing duties.[4] Also, Heir Apparent's lineup was changed into a quintet by adding a keyboard player Mike Jackson.[1] The new lineup recorded Heir Apparent's second studio album One Small Voice, which marked a musical shift towards the more technical sound of progressive metal, compared to the traditional heavy and power metal style of the previous release. In the summer of 1988, Heir Apparent had their first large arena performance, serving as an opening act for David Lee Roth, in the Seattle Center Coliseum. Soon after that, the band had signed a seven-album contract in 1988 in a joint venture with Capitol Records/Metal Blade, but suddenly dissolved even before the official release of One Small Voice in June 1989.[3] Without a concert support, and with the emergence of grunge in the Seattle area, the second album did not reach the debut's underground success and critical acclaim until many years later, compelling the Greek label Arkeyn Steel Records to release a digitally remastered limited edition of One Small Voice with bonus tracks and a live DVD[7] from a 1988 concert video of this lineup in 2010.

The Germany's label Hellion Records released the Triad demo compilation album in late 1999, along with the re-issue of the band's first album Graceful Inheritance. The band stayed inactive until 2000 when guitarist Terry Gorle was invited to perform at Wacken Open Air festival. Gorle reunited with the original rhythm section of Ray Schwartz and Derek Peace, with addition of Michael James Flatters on vocals. Following that comeback performance, Terry Gorle led several different lineups in concerts between 2002 and 2004. The 2004 lineup of Terry Gorle (guitar), Bobby Ferkovich (bass), Op Sakiya (keyboards), Jeff McCormack (drums) and Peter Orullian (vocals) reunited to perform in Europe in November 2006, headlining Germany's Keep It True festival, and two additional shows in Greece.

In January 2012, Heir Apparent's original musicians (Gorle, Schwartz, and Peace) performed with Jeff Carrell on vocals at the Metal Assault II Festival[8] in Germany, with additional concerts in Athens and Thessaloniki Greece in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Graceful Inheritance.

In October 2015, Heir Apparent performed their first concert in Italy at the Play It Loud Festival[9] with vocalist Will Shaw and keyboardist Op Sakiya joining Gorle, Peace, and Schwartz. During 2016, Heir Apparent has co-headlining festival concerts in Greece at Up the Hammers[10] and Germany at Keep It True.[11] 2016 also brought limited edition releases on vinyl of material from the 1983 Nemesis demo,[12] 1984 Inception Day demo,[13] 1987–88 Triad demos,[14] and Graceful Inheritance.[15]

Heir Apparent's third album, The View from Below, was released worldwide in October 2018 on No Remorse Records[16] with Will Shaw on vocals, Terry Gorle on guitar, Derek Peace on bass, Ray Schwartz on drums, and Op Sakiya on keyboards. The album was highly rated by numerous magazines and journalists.[17] In 2019, Heir Apparent performed at the Rock Hard Festival,[18] as well as the Saturday headliner at Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany.[19] Each festival appearance was followed by club shows in Netherlands.

Musical influences[edit]

On their official Myspace page, the band stated Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Rainbow and Deep Purple as their main musical influences. They were often compared to contemporaries Queensrÿche.[1][3]

Band members[edit]

2019 lineup[edit]

  • Terry Gorle – guitars
  • Derek Peace – bass
  • Ray Schwartz – drums
  • Will Shaw – vocals
  • Op Sakiya – keyboards[20]

Former members[edit]


  • Paul Davidson (1983–1986)
  • Steve Benito (1987–1989)
  • Michael James Flatters (2000)
  • Bryan Hagan (2003)
  • Peter Orullian (2004–2006)
  • Mike Blair (2003)
  • Jeff Carrell (2012 tour)
  • Mike Gorham (2013)


  • Derek Peace (1983–1989) (2000) (2012)
  • Duane Bakke (1986)
  • Randy Nelson (1987)
  • Bobby Ferkovich (2004–2006)


  • Jim Kovach (1983–1984)
  • Ray Schwartz (1984–1989) (2000) (2012)
  • Jeffrey McCormack (2004–2006)
  • Clint Clark (2003–2004)


  • Nathan McCoy (1985)
  • Mike Jackson (1987–1989)
  • Op Sakiya (2004–2006)[21]


Studio albums[edit]


  • Graceful Inheritance (1999 – CD), Hellion
  • Triad (1999 – CD), Hellion
  • One Small Voice (2010 – CD/DVD), Arkeyn Steel
  • Graceful Inheritance (2012 – CD/DVD), Death Rider
  • Graceful Inheritance (2015 – vinyl), NW Metalworx
  • One Small Voice (2021 – CD, vinyl), NW Metalworx
  • Foundations 1 & 2 (2021 – CD), VIC Records

Compilation albums[edit]

  • One Small Voice (digital remaster with bonus tracks), Riviera DVD (2010), Arkeyn Steel
  • Graceful Inheritance (digital remaster with bonus tracks and 1984 demo), LiveTime DVD (2012), Death Rider
  • Foundations (2016), Floga Records


  1. ^ a b c d Rivadavia, Eduardo "Heir Apparent Biography", AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2012
  2. ^ "Inception Day". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Wagner, Jeff (2010) Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal, Bazillion Points, ISBN 978-0979616334, p. 64
  4. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (1999) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0257-7, pp. 211-2
  5. ^ "Rock Hard's Redactionscharts". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Best of Rock and Metal". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  7. ^ "One Small Voice reissue". Arkeynsteel.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "Metal Assault Festival II (2012)". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "Play It Loud 2015". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Up The Hammers 2015". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  11. ^ "Keep It True 2015". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  12. ^ "Nemesis". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Inception Day". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Triad". Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Graceful Inheritance". Heirapparent.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "The View From Below". Facebook.com. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Rock Hard Festival 2019: Cannibal Corpse, Fifth Angel, Long Distance Calling, Heir Apparent, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Visigoth und The Idiots bestätigt". Rockhard.de. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  19. ^ "HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR 2019: Running Order • News • vampster.com". Archived from the original on August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  20. ^ Terry Gorle, October 8, 2021
  21. ^ Terry Gorle – October 13, 2013 (list includes only musicians who publicly recorded or performed with the band)

External links[edit]