Review: H.E.A.T – Into The Great Unknown
Ear Music (Sept 22nd 2017)
Reviewer: Stephen Brophy
Swedish Melodic Rockers H.E.A.T have been gaining a huge amount of traction in recent years, with some terrific album releases, a headlining appearance on the opening night of the final Firefest Festival and just a growing reputation as one of the best live acts on the scene. But late last year the announcement was made that Eric Rivers (Guitarist and major force in the band) was leaving which brought a raft of questions with it, this was closely followed by the news that Dave Dalone (Guitar) was to rejoin the band as his replacement. So interesting times ahead and a lot of interest in the direction that the new album was going to take.
‘Into The Great Unknown‘ features ten tracks, that may sound a bit different to what the band has done before. That of course doesn’t mean there aren’t great songs on here, it’s so very difficult to look past a song like ‘Eye Of The Storm‘ which really is a killer, perhaps showing off some more of Erik’s vocal talents than the more poppy songs. There is a bit of an epic feel to it, building and soaring while at the same time having more mellow moments. Or take ‘Redefined‘ which to me sounds like it would fit brilliantly to the soundtrack of a movie like The Karate Kid or those of a similar ilk, that sounds a little flippant perhaps but not meant as a slight in any way it’s the intro and feel that just bring me back to that 80’s sound, but the more you listen to this one the more you get from it.
Tracks like ‘Best Of The Broken‘ and ‘Blind Lead The Blind‘ are H.E.A.T through and through and on the other end of the spectrum you have the lead track form the album, ‘Time On Our Side‘ which without any doubt has split a lot of opinion since it was unleashed on the world a little over a month ago, not all of that has been positive either, but for me anyway the more I’ve listened to it the more it’s grown on me, perhaps not the strongest track on show here but interesting and a very different approach.
H.E.A.T are no different to any band, sounds can change as they experiment with different styles and develop, if you look at this bands history there are places where this has occurred, generally with changes to band personnel. The first two albums sound very different to anything with Erik singing, and ‘Tear Down The Walls‘ was a large progression from ‘Address The Nation‘, so we shouldn’t be too surprised in the fact that this new album sounds different again. Not as immediate, perhaps it’s the general flow of the tracks that is different, or the energy.
Musically the band sound great, Dave has fitted back in really well, Crash, Jona and Jimmy are as solid as ever and great backing vocals, Erik vocally continues to smash it, the aggression is still there, ‘Bastard Of Society‘ and ‘Shit City‘, and there’s a still a lot of power in places, this is a really good album, but not 100% convinced everything works together, the band should be applauded for continually exploring new avenues, looking to advance their sound and develop, and this album is still growing on me, but there are also bumps in the road. No doubt there are some new monsters here to be add live, and the next release will be very interesting.