a l b u m r e v i e w s


Escape Music ESM059
Produced by: Morris & Ousey

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: The Distance

  1. Staring Down The Gun
  2. Eyes Wide Open
  3. She Blows Me Away
  4. Willing To Fly
  5. Love Resurrection
  6. Too Good To Be True
  7. Whatever Gets You Through The Night
  8. One Love
  9. Live To Fight
  10. The Run Away
  11. You Make Me Smile
  12. Conquer All

As It Comes is album number 6 for Heartland and once that sort of catalogue is established, it is hard to distinguish the material amongst all the other albums before it and also hard for a band to record something new to sound original and excite fans.
Fortunately Heartland do a little of both, with several songs that retain the sound we know and love and pleasing long time fans, while also throwing in a few new tricks to break the flow of the album up and hopefully reach a few new fans.
As a result, As It Comes is probably the best album the guys have recorded since their softer AOR debut.
The main thing I can report from this album is the songs have more life to them and remain more memorable.
Having said that, the only thing the guys can do to improve now, is work on their choruses. Heartland remain a band that rely on intricate and changing melodies contained in the whole song, rather than a killer chorus that sticks in your head endlessly.
Opening track Starring Down The Gun has more punch than just about any other Heartland number I can think of. It suits the guys and Ousey sounds great. The more intense drumming makes an effect and the chorus, while it comes and goes very quickly is effective.
Eyes Open Wide is classic Heartland at their best. A fast tempoed, but moody AOR rocker that contains a smoldering vocal and a verse layered with several guitar and vocal melodies.
This is the sort of track I could always hear more of.
She Blows Me Away and Willing To Fly are both good moody rock tracks, musically in the vein of the band's first album, but with the production of their recent style.
Love Resurrection is another more guitar dominated track like the opening number.
Whatever Gets You Through The Night is one of those new tricks I was talking about. This is possibly the darkest track the guys have ever recorded, with plenty of atmosphere and a tough chorus where the vocal takes a back seat to the guitar and musical layers. A good track.
On The Run Away, Steve Morris plays some tasty guitar and Chris Ousey does some of his best Eric Martin vocals. Another classic style Heartland track.
You Make Me Smile also harks back the softer AOR style of the debut with some great smooth vocals and some great pure keyboard AOR hooks. A pretty ballad.
Conquer All finishes the album with some urgency - a fast moving pop rocker with a memorable chorus and more great vocals.
BOTTOM LINE: A few tracks stand out as classic AOR numbers, but put the whole album together and it adds up to possibly the best Heartland album to date. At the very least it is the band's most musically diverse, even when they don't stray from the formula of past albums too much. It still leaves a positive feeling and a regard that the band are still capable of being creative and making good AOR records after several years on the job.
It's also great to see an AOR band establish a real track record. Like fellow UK rockers Ten, I expect Heartland to be round for several years to come.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All established Heartland and The Distance fans, fans of good pure AOR.
DISCOGRAPHY: Heartland . Wide Open . 3 . Bridge Of Fools . Miracles By Design . When Angel's Call . As It Comes

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