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Album Review : HEAT / HEAT II

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Over the past few years this magical Swedish outfit have been building momentum like a runaway truck. Having toured mainland Europe and a trip to Japan just for good measure they have introduced many people to their extensive studio catalogue.   With the release of this the new studio album simply if not a touch confusingly titled, II (two) which in fact I believe is their 6th studio outing can they build on the momentum ? 

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Fronted by the manic Eric Gronwall on vocals this 5 piece have simply and quietly gone into the studio and released what could well be their best all round album so far, helped by a pristine crisp production from Jona Tee and Davy Dalone which harks back to the groups early days. 

ROCK YOUR BODY is the foot stomping opening track and is stadium filling material as it shuffles along with a chorus so huge it has to be heard to be believed. The way the song starts is clever as each instrument enters under its own steam with gentle keyboards then staggered guitar followed by the gentle cymbals and finally a funky deep bass line topped off with those explosive vocals. Personally, I don’t think the group could have picked a more perfect opening track and already the feel-good factor is set at 10. 

DANGEROUS GROUND starts with the sound of an engine firing up and some beefy guitars with plenty of cowbell and snare drum shuffle, making this even more up tempo than the opener. Simply put this is classic hard rock and a million miles from the melodic tag that the group have attracted over the years. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6d8xJqY2uA&w=560&h=315]

COME CLEAN has the keyboards firmly placed at the front of this track and once again it’s all about the chorus and a frantic guitar solo, short but very sweet before it’s back to that chorus. Although the lyrical content of this song could easily work as a ballad the fact that once again its more up tempo with pounding drums works in its favour a master stroke from the group. 

VICTORY with a hint of Hammond organ that adds to a track that comes over as quiet, dramatic and bombastic, is huge in fact I would go as far as to say it’s the centre point to the album. The track has everything and more. Powerful vocals and pounding drums being unleashed at a breath-taking pace and the gang vocals of “Victory” being chanted by all the band members in unison. Brilliant left of centre moment for the group and a moment that works well. 

WE ARE GODS. Talk about taking the limelight well take a bow Mr Gronwall!  What a vocal performance from this fine singer. From the off he delivers something a bit special against a backdrop of hard-hitting drums and another guitar solo that makes your hair stand on end. I just cannot get enough of this song. 

ONE BY ONE again is so catchy with its nod to the sort of material that was so common in the 1980’s I would be as brave as to say it has a feel to it that wouldn’t be out of place on a mid ‘80’s GARY MOORE album. 

NOTHING TO SAY, is the lighter in the air moment and the main ballad on the album, and what a monster song. Surely destined to be a firm live favourite for years to come, a beautiful piece of music, performed and executed perfectly. If only this was released 30 years ago it would have put the group on every radio station in the land. The subject matter is a subject that everyone can relate to which makes it even more of a special moment. 

UNDER THE GUN with its funky hard-hitting bass line introduces this stomper of a song, this is old school hard rock. Make no mistake HEAT have many surprises up their sleeves when it comes to writing material and UNDER THE GUN is one such track. I just love the way you feel the need to join in with the words and sing along. 

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So with the album done and dusted and having played it at least 3 times its time for the group to step up to the next level and on the back of this superb album I can see them doing this without much problem due to the fact that this fresh material is so strong. For any curious rock fans out there who know little about this group but want to grab a album to see what all the fuss is about, I would not hesitate to recommend you start with this release because it is just a full on, feel good rock album. 

Review by Steve Bruty for MPM

 

 

 

                                                             

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