Review: H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
H.E.A.T are band that seem to have been around for ages yet still remain a young band and the next big thing to break. For whatever reason, they have just never made that leap into the big league. On their last album release they shook things up an bit and changed the formula they had stuck to previously, and took a little bit of criticism for that. Personally, I thought it was the best thing they had done and looked forward to them developing this direction further. However, judging by the press release it sounds like they have went to their roots, thus the name ‘H.E.A.T II‘.
‘Rock Your Body‘ opens the album with its pumping opening salvo and a great chop. And as you would expect it has a huge chorus. It pumps along nicely and definitively re-asserts the band’s sound. Next up is ‘Dangerous Ground‘ which lifts the pace and power somewhat and is classic H.E.A.T with some stellar vocals. ‘Come Clean‘ opens with a keyboard-driven riff, breaking down into picking guitar and once again there is a killer chorus. The arrangement cleverly changes a little each time round, keeping it fresh each time round. A more classic rock sound more akin to Rainbow/Deep Purple is next up with ‘Victory‘ and a chanting chorus. For me this is one of the weaker songs on the album. The feel changes with the opening bluesy guitar of ‘We Are Gods‘. This is powerful thundering track conveying the title perfectly, with Eric Gronwall giving it some serious big vocal licks. The pace is picked back up with ‘Adrenaline‘ and if there is such a thing sounds like typical Swedish melodic rock. With a staccato riff behind the chorus the song has another big chorus.
‘One By One‘ opens in a similar vein to its predecessor but drops into a completely differently melodic feel with keyboards and some choked guitar. The guitar solo is tastefully played over a more laid back break and provides a great contrast. Next up is the obligatory ballad, ‘Nothing To Say‘, and Gronwall shows he can vary his vocal styling. The song is predominantly acoustic guitar and ethereal keyboards but lifts for the chorus as do the vocals. In places, it almost has the feel of a movie soundtrack song.
‘Heaven Must Have Won An Angel‘ sounds like it should be a ballad from its title, but it’s a classic H.E.A.T mid-paced rocker which rattles along very nicely indeed. The opening of the next song sounds like the Scorpions to me before breaking down into a bluesy riff and then changing again into a rotating drum-pattern driven riff – great variation from the guys. Entitled ‘Under The Gun‘, it wasn’t the balls-out rocker the name suggested – great stuff. The last song on the album is ‘Rise‘ opening with some lilting keyboards before exploding into a huge guitar riff. This closes the album very much as it started with the classic H.E.A.T sound.
So what’s the verdict? Well, the guys wanted to go back to a classic sound after the experimenting of the last album and they have certainly achieved that. It oozes quality in terms of the songs and vocals and will certainly delight H.E.A.T fans. However, will it win them over a drove of new fans? I doubt it! A much as I love this album, I am kind of disappointed they didn’t go the whole way this time with the road they started down with the previous album. Regardless of my disappointment, let me be clear about it – this album seriously rocks. I dearly hope the quality of their recorded works and their kick-arse live shows get them into the big league. If any melodic rock band that have emerged in the last decade or deserve to, its these guys. Get them album, buy your tickets for the tour – you won’t be disappointed!