From time to time we all hear the media hype. You know the stuff, “….greatest thing since sliced…”, “the greatest band in the world today”, etc – the sad truth is that, often, the reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Four albums in to a career (including a change of singer – Erik Gronwall having won, gulp, Swedish Idol) the reports about H.e.a.t continue to rave about their greatness. So what, you cry, are they any good and is this record worth parting with hard earned money for?
Last year, I had the fortune of reporting from the inaugural Hard Rock Hell AOR and witnessed the H.e.a.t phenomenon live. There was no two ways about it – I saw a band whose passion for catchy hooks, driving beats and cool guitar solos had more than found an ideal frontman in Gronwall. His perpetual motion, energetic madness coupled with an almost perfect “rock” voice made theirs one of the stand out performances for me … so much so that I rushed to buy their third album, “Address the Nation”, on my return home. A good record that won many fans but, I’ll be honest, didn’t hook me as much as their live show had. However, I’m always happy to be proved wrong and when I heard that the new record was approaching release I was eager to hear it – particularly as I heard that it signalled a slightly more hard edge to their sound.
As ever, my excitemnet of receiving any advance copy made me leap at the chance to get the album played …. well, actually Iit took me 24 hours as I was afraid that the intense pressure of countless rock writers telling me how much I should love the album got a wee bit too much. However, I couldn’t postpone playing it for ever and, right in the middle of a visit from the plumber (don’t ask ….), “Tearing Down the Walls” was ripping through the house and ….. blow me, what a staggeringly amazing record.
Yes, there is quite definitely a much harder edge whilst still retaining the melody, hooks and choruses that will make this appeal to lovers of melodic rock/AOR. Sure, there are still hints of that far sunnier, happier time of the 1980s but this really does sound like a record with a heavier side (without becoming dark and too cool for school, moody). Great production allows the songs to shine, great guitar sounds and drums that sound like drums (what, an album produced for listening to through a proper set of speakers?). 12 tracks that sound like what rock music should (to these ears, anyway!) and within the album you get a little bit of ballad but a whole load of balls. Tribal sounding drum beats in places , gang vocal choruses in others all matched to outstanding performances.
Is this the essential purchase the pr would have us believe? In one word, yes. You have to wait until April for the album but in the meantime the boys have released the 4-track “A Shot At Redemption” EP which gives you the chance to hear the lead off single (“A Shot At Redemption” – the video for which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f6D5qP9WAc ). Mrs W heard it once (having never heard their previous material) and was instantly hooked too – perhaps, just perhaps, H.e.a.t could really be the new leading band in hard edged melodic rock – do believe the hype!
1. Point of No Return
2. A Shot at Redemption
4. The Wreckoning
5. Tearing Down the Walls
6. Mannequin Show
7. We Will Never Die
9. All the Nights
10. Eye for an Eye
11. Enemy in Me
12. Laughing at Tomorrow
“Tearing Down The Walls” is released on April 14th, 2014 via earMUSIC
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Photo Credit: © Gustaf Sandholm Andersson