H.E.A.T - II
SCORE - 100%
H.E.A.T ‘II’, perfection is thy name.
Artists, bands, labels, managers, songwriters….listen up, pay attention and understand – this is how it’s done.
H.E.A.T have thrown off the experimentations of Into The Great Unknown (which I still think was great in its own way), ditched long-time producer Tobias Lindell and gone all in-house for their remarkable 6th album.
The result is H.E.A.T ‘II’, an album that doesn’t just politely knock on your door, rather it sees the band roll up in a 49-ton bulldozer, run over your lawn, crash through the door and bulldoze right through your house and out the other side.
This is a no holes barred, take no prisoners, earth shattering slice of classic melodic hard rock, where every single element is simply perfect. And every element helps make the other aspects of the album sound even better.
Crash drums like an absolute madman, his playing not only more powerful and bombastic than ever, but it’s also more technical and truly ear shattering.
Dave shreds harder and faster than ever before, making this the band’s heaviest album to date. Some of the guitar solos are mind-blowing.
Jona brings an equal dose of keyboards, helping balance the aggression with melody and adding several extra layers of ear candy.
Jimmy takes on his role with his usual dominant presence, grooving right alongside Crash as Scandinavia’s tightest rhythm section.
And what can I say about Erik? We already know he’s an alien from a galaxy far far away, where freakish lung capacity and megaphone vocals are commonplace, but here on earth he stands alone as the finest rock vocalist anywhere. And here he screams, wails, harmonizes and produces angelic tones that every other singer should strive for.
It’s simply a stunning performance by Erik and the whole band.
Additional credit must go to the guys for the production and mix. If anything, it is even better than ever, they clearly learned a lot from their time in the studio and this record reflects that. Absolutely flawless.
4 songs have been previewed in full, each one giving a solid indication of the rest of the album. There’s 11 ass-kicking tracks, the only ballad being Nothing To Say – a ballad so good it also kicks your ass. 11 tracks and 11 different vibes. Its very cool. It’s edgy, it’s menacing, it’s anthemic and melodic and it’s fresh.
Of my observations on the album, it is worth noting that the songs all that have influences from the past, but also strike a clear new path forward.
The guys have used some different chorus styles and structures in places and while some of the choruses may not match the anthemic heights of Living On The Run or Point Of No Return, the songs actually deliver the knockout hooks in the verse or post-chorus bridge. It makes for a really interesting learning curve for the album, as the chorus is normally the most obvious point of familiarity when first getting to know any record.
Highlights are almost impossible to spotlight as not matter what song you play last is the one stuck in your head afterwards.
I do have a particular love for the hard edged fast moving Dangerous Ground; the classic Heat sound of Come Clean; the menacing We Are Gods and its brilliant post-chorus hook; the punchy multi-hook Adrenaline (with a nod to Eclipse’s Runaway in the chorus) and Heaven Must Have Won An Angel, which has a strong Brother Firetribe vibe to it. But that said, I now feel mean for not mentioning other songs. They’re all brilliant.
This review is way longer than it needed to be. We’ll cut to the bottom line.
It’s perfect. The easiest 100 I’ve ever given. Take a bow guys.