H.E.A.T. II cd review
I love my job.In late December I was fortunate to receive a promo copy of H.E.A.T. II and on Christmas Day I drove around with a huge grin on my face listening to the magic inside as this is the H.E.A.T. we want to hear and hopefully the album that makes them superstars worldwide as their talent deserves.
On the 21st of February via earMusic the world will hear what I have had the joy of hearing for the last month and as the band say this is what their debut album would sound like in 2020 if this was day one and not album number 6.
Erik Gronwall joined in 2012 for Address The Nation and then 2014's Tearing Down The Walls before 2017's The Great Unknown and it's pop sensibilities upset some fans and critic's even though in the live arena these Swede's only have one setting and that is on stun.
2020 sees the band back with a vengeance and with II produced entirely by the band - with Jona Tee (keys) and Dave Dalone (guitar) as producers.They have done a simply fantastic job bringing that live excitement and joyous vibe and really capturing what we see time and again live into the studio as the audio grabs you by the neck and doesn't let go for 11 tracks and 46 minutes with 10 rockers and only one ballad for your delectation.
The production is crisp and clean with every instrument audible and being given a chance to take fore front when required.Dave Dalone's guitar riffs leap out of the speakers as Crash's drums crack with intent and Jimmy Jay's bass keeps it all together and fills out the bottom end.Jona Tee's keyboards wrap themselves in and around the guiatr riffs and out front Erik's vocal's are simply world class full of melody and superb tone and some of his held note's are mind blowing.He is truly one of the world's great frontmen with more energy than the Duracell bunny and are their many headline act's out their who want him going on after him.
Rock Your Body is a sure fire live hit after a short keys intro the guitar riff kicks in and with Crash's bass drum accompaniment and the crowd's fist's going skywards then we are off with a huge groove laden rocker with the mix showing off it's layers straight away.Dave's guitar add libs only add to the mix and the huge gang style chorus works well alongside Erik's melodic asking of us all to get a little crazy.
Dangerous Ground turns up the rock with a fast paced rocker with keys and guitar entwined before they drop out before returning harder pre chorus.Fist's will punch the sky with head's banging but never ever forgetting their roots with the chorus full of melodic intent.
Come Clean is wonderful with the keys giving it a little more of an AOR feel but still bass and drums throb and guitar's roar and Erik's breathless vocal and held notes on the chorus deserve to be sung back at stadium's world wide.As it end's you just want to hear it again.Dave's guitar solo is short sharp fiery and fit's perfectly.
Please play it live.
Victory is another huge sounding anthem with a heavy guitar riff and pounding rhythm section and Erik's vocal a touch grittier with a huge gang chorus where again fist's will be raised.Jona gets a chance to shine with a keys solo that morphs into Dave's guitar solo and listen to Jay's bass underpinning it all.
We Are Gods turns it down a notch with a biiig guitar riff and pounding rhythm and more held notes from Erik and a biiiig chorus.The band take it down before Dave hits a wah infused guitar solo and more chorusing.
Adrenaline starts with a woah woah refrain and is another driving monster of a song with the guitars and keys higher in the mix and all building to the pre chorus and Erik giving it his all.
Another melodic chorus and more woah woah's and again this all killer no filler.
One By One was the first single and was a perfect introduction to H.E.A.T. 2020 and could have been lifted from Address The Nation with a better production.All fast paced riffs and keys and Crash driving it to new heights and a chorus to die for.Dave's guitar solo extends under Erik's vocal and sure to be played live with Erik in the crowd.
Nothing To Say is the only ballad on the cd and gives Erik a chance to show off his full range with a heartfelt vocal and lush production with acoustic guitars and keys to the fore.One for the lighters and iphones at a gig soon.
Heaven Must Have Won An Angel starts on a keys intro before guitars kick in.For the verse they drop out then dip in and out leading to the chorus.Jimmy's bass is the driving force with more of an AOR feel and Erik again shines with held notes in the chorus.The man is a world class vocalist.
Under The Gun is a fast paced stomper with a big gang chorus and Crash shines with a different drum rhythm in the verse and Dave shines with a great bouncy guitar solo before second single Rise takes the cd out on a high.I love an album to end on a bang and this justifies it's claim to last song.Another stomper with a great guitar riff but the keys are in their too with a huge gang shout out of RISE in the chorus.
2020 is a mere few days old and already I may have heard the best cd of the year already.
II plays to H.E.A.T.'s strengths and they have produced an album of anthems that deserves to take them to the next level and here in the depths of winter there is a cd that leaves you with a warm sunny glow of mid summer every single time.
Photo Credit: © Steven Christie