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Heartland Move On Escape Music
ESM113
Produced By: Steve Morris

Running Time: 57.12

Release Date: April 11

Released: EU

Musical Style: Melodic Rock / Melodic Hard Rock

Links: Escape Music
97%
Songs: 96%
Sound: 98%
Almost two years to the day, UK melodic rock stars Heartland return with what is possibly their best ever album. A lot of care and attention has been put into this release something which shines through in every aspect of the album.
Heartland has always been a personal favourite I have every one of their 8 previous releases. The band's debut was an AOR classic, which with a major label budget has been hard for the band to top. Each release has seen the guys get a little heavier and each release has seen an improvement in quality leading up their great last album Communication Down.
But Move On moves not one, but two steps ahead, with important improvements in all areas, and especially in an area the band needed to work on most chorus hooks!
Vocalist Chris Ousey and guitarist Steve Morris wrote and produced the album in the UK and famed producer Tommy Hansen mixed the album in Denmark, while also supervising the recording and placement of the rhythm section.
In the grand scheme of things, the band's sound is not too heavy they remain a melodic rock act, yet this album is their heaviest to date, mainly due to increased urgency in the delivery and a super tight sound that features a wonderfully crisp and sharp guitar presence.
The style suits the guys perfectly and the uptempo numbers really get the heart racing and feet tapping along.
So, the sound is tougher and tighter than ever, the performances are flawless and the mix perfect. And the songwriting is their best since the debut. A great deal of Heartland's melodies are played out by the vocal acrobatics of Chirs Ousey. He turns a simple phrase into a hook and the band's verses are at times, just as catchy as the choruses themselves. But I've always stated that in order for the band to improve further, chorus hooks is where it needs to take place.
Move On features some of the band's best chorus hooks since their AOR drenched debut. The vocals are layered more than ever before and feature extra orchestration which lifts them away from the verse into their own stratosphere.
This change is largely due to the input of the quite brilliant Anders Rydhom, who produced the vocals, which are enhanced by fellow Grand Illusioners Peter Sundell and Per Svensson, adding their mighty backing vocals throughout.
Track By Track:
Opening with a bang, Hard Hearted Man bursts to life in double time fashion, with a snappy drum sound and authorative lead vocal that's typical Heartland and reminiscent of their last album. The chorus, although subtle, lifts the track when needed and a new classic is born. Some tasteful guitar work closes out the track, which is immediately replaced by an even more intense rocker - City of Lights.
I love the heard edged guitar intro and the overdubbed soloing. Drums kick in and we are away again. The song builds further, with Chris Ousey's lead vocals as powerful as they have ever been. The chorus sees the song gain more momentum and the layered backing vocals are rich and glorious. This is another great chorus from the guys.
The hard edged rock continues with Take Me Alive, although in a slightly different vein. This track has a different vibe entirely and is something a little different for Heartland. More great harmony vocals surround the chorus, which has a real bluesy swagger to it.
Proceedings slow briefly for the semi-acoustic ballad How Was I To Know. The base of the track is acoustic, but the overdubs are all electric, giving it a real punch. A heartfelt vocal drives the track and again, backing vocals are used perfectly throughout.
Ousey's voice is amazing at times and he really lets fly with some sustained notes.
I'm Getting Ready is another album highlight even though every track has been great so far. I love the chorus on this mid-tempo melodic rocker, which features some big Grand Illusion style pomp vocals. The track clocks in at 6 minutes and changes focus towards the end. Classy songwriting at it's best.
Hell Or High Water is a slow to mid-tempo track and doesn't quite fit the mould for a ballad or a rocker. Rather it's a moody melodic rock track that features a big harmony filled chorus that comes from nowhere. The track provides a great change of pace mid album.
Time for a happy go lucky rocker in the guise of Too Sad To Cry. This is a simple, but classy rocker that reminds me of classic Heartland from albums such as Wide Open and Bridge Of Fools.
Remember Me Continues the vibe of the previous track, but in a more uptempo setting. The chorus is simple, but fits the album well.
Redemption is a rare instrumental for the band. I'm not a huge fan of these interludes on what is primarily a vocal album, but the track and importantly, the lead guitar melody is brilliant and I find it enhances the record rather than taking away from it. It makes for a cleaver break before running into the last three tracks of the album.
I love that one of the album's best tracks and most energetic rockers is left until the back end of the album. One thing about this album is the precision in the running order it works beautifully and having this track placed here gives renewed energy to the listener.
Where Do We Go From Here is a great uptempo rocker with a lush layered chorus and features a keyboard sound reminiscent of classic early Heartland and even Virginia Wolf.
One Fine Day is yet another great track and is the prefect answer to the energy of the last track. This moody mid-tempo rock track has a feel good vibe and equally warm chorus.
Closing the album is Rotate, a big funky rocker that's a little bit of fun and ends the album on a spirited high note.
The Bottom Line
Looking back over the band's vast history, I think only the debut rates alongside this. Communication Down came close, but as hoped, this goes even further. A brilliant sound and more memorable performances make it a 2005 highlight. With the addition of some killer choruses and thick, layered harmony vocals, Heatland are about to do what few bands can add new fans after a 10 year plus career.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Heartland
Wide Open
3
Bridge Of Fools
Miracles By Design
When Angel's Call
As It Comes
Communication Down
Move On

Line Up
Chris Ousey : Vocals
Steve Morris: Guitar, Keyboards
Rasmus Dueldahl: Drums
Mathias Gregerson: Bass
Bjarne T. Holm : Drums Track 5

Essential for fans of:
Heartland - Communication Down
The Distance
Track Listing
Hard Hearted Man*
City of Lights*
Take Me Alive
How Was I To Know*
I'm Getting Ready*
Hell Or High Water*
Too Sad To Cry
Remember Me?
Redemption (Instrumental)
Where Do We Go From Here?*
One Fine Day*
Rotate
--*Best Tracks


24/05/06: jessekye - halpainjames@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
Just good rock n roll, great guitar'great vocals,just good ,my frist taste of the band its in my top ten to play

08/11/05: LEE F - kiamoon22@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
THIS IS MY 1ST TASTE OF HEARTLAND AND ITS BRILL , BOUGHT THERE DEBUT ON THE STRENGTH OF MOVE ON BUT IT DOESNT COME CLOSE IN MY EYES.THERES NOT A BAD SONG ON THE ALBUM OUTSTANDING

01/11/05: AORAndy69 - andrea_boggio@virgilio.it
Rating: 100
Finally the guys at their best and a little bit harder. I don't understand why this album miss the 100 rating. HARD HEARTED MAN - CITY OF LIGHTS - HELL OR HIGH WATER - ONE FINE DAY are AOR gems designed by Chris and Steve. AOR "sferzante" as I Like.

08/07/05: Steve Hawkins - sharon.hawkins@tesco.net
Rating: 90
Heartland progress with every new release. On the first listen, I found some on the songs on the new CD hard to get into and the sound is definately 'tougher' than previous Heartland releases. However, that is in some ways a natural progression from 'Communication Down'.The CD rewarded me with repeated listens, to the extent that it has been played regularly for over two months now.

"Getting Ready", "Hell or High Water", "Too Sad to Cry" are stand -out songs, but several others come close and the overall quality, including production is superb. These guys are at the top of their game; the debut was and is still a great album but that was then and this is Heartland today. I for one am glad that they are still making great songs and not treading old ground.

27/06/05: Paul Haworth - metropolis1956@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 90
Bought the c/d on the basis of the Melodic Rock review. Pleased that I did as it is a cracking album.

25/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 70
Although this is still a decent record, it's by far the worst they ever released.
Hell, sometimes I think I'm listening to a metal record ! Not that there is something wrong with that, but Heartland is an AOR album and Chris' voice is made for AOR, not for 'metal' !
The sound is too raw, too hard and to straight forward for Heartland.
Gone is their typically AOR sound, which was their strength.
No, I have to admit that I'm disappointed and I hope they'll return to a more AOR-ish sound with their next release.

19/05/05: DeKozzen - hans.cosyns@vt4.net
Rating: 95
Very nice work guys ! First album I rated 97, this is the following best album they made. Congratulations !


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