H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls

HEAT - Tearing Down The WallsI might have pointed this out in another review, but it really has to be said anyway. I was never a huge H.E.A.T. fan – in fact, I was never a fan of this band at all. There was a pretty big buzz when this lot released their self titled debut back in 2008 and when it came to AOR and melodic, H.E.A.T. were the talk of the town for a while. Sure, their debut is a well made AOR album with a slick, smooth and professional production and a bunch of musicians of the finest kind. I know that there will be many that will beg to differ about this, but to me there was something missing. What was missing were the songs that knocked me of my rocker. Not that the songs were bad, nope, but they just were and nothing else and I can’t for my life remember even one melody to this day. The follow up, Freedom Rock (2010) was rockier and in my opinion a better album. I know that their second album is looked upon as their worst, but I disagree. But just when H.E.A.T. had become a household name, at least in Sweden, with their Eurovision Song Contest hit single “1000 Miles”, lead singer and frontman Kenny Leckremo decided to jump the ship and Bang! – there was the band, on the verge of their big break but without their so important lead singer. What to do then? Well, no biggie, folks, let’s just hire the winner of Swedish Idol, Erik Grönwall. How’s that for credibility, peeps? A smart move as Erik had become really popular and beloved by the people of Sweden. But me, I wasn’t convinced. Sure, I knew Erik could sing well, but I never took part of the praise everybody and their mother had for him after Idol. What changed my mind was when we attended the same birthday party and Erik sang a couple of tunes. My jaw dropped to my knees and right there and then I understood just how awesome he was and that H.E.A.T. had made a killer decision by tieing this guy to their band. But still, in my book, H.E.A.T. had a song issue and I wasn’t sure that that would change just because they had a new a new, great singer. Well, it did. Their debut with Erik at the mike, Address The Nation came out in 2012 and the album turned out to be a complete motherf**ker of an album. I had no expectations, but the album kicked my ass right into next week. So the table had turned 180 degrees when it came to expectations when H.E.A.T. was about to release their new album, the second one with Grönwall.

Now, I have seen the band live on several occasions after their last album and it has been quite a journey to see Grönwall transformed from the boy at the Idol contest to the man who’s fronting what now must be seen as one of Sweden’s most brilliant live acts. With the loss of one of their original guitarists, Dave Dalone, would the band have what it takes to follow up a success like the last album – an album that didn’t only go down like a storm among their fans, but also by the critics? The answer, my friends, must be one big thunderous HELL YEAH! I’m knocked out already by the opening track “Point Of No Return”, a kick ass opener and melodic rock at it’s best, first single “A Shot At Redemption” is a complete killer, raunchy and groovy with a clout and a melody that is so catchy it’s contagious, “Inferno” rocks hard – harder than ever before with the guitars more prominent than ever and awesome hooks and the title track then, a power ballad that would give Anders Wikström and his Treat a good run for their money. Their new single “Mannequin Show” is a hit in the making and an awesome song. I think ABBA goes hard rock when I hear it – can’t go wrong with that, huh? “We Will Never Die” has the sound of late 80’s / early 90’s hard rock with a blues based rhythm that brings Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet” and Whitesnake’s 1987 version of “Crying In The Rain”. What a mix and how brilliant. “Emergency” is another killer that’s groovy, rocking and catchy and I’m thinking Europe’s Out Of This World but with a great production. The ballad “All The Nights” has only Erik’s fantastic voice over piano and strings and the song gushes with passion and soul. Erik’s vocal range is really stupendous. I get a big hit feel from the brilliant “Eye For An Eye” and the boys turns around 180 degrees for the heavy hard rocker “Enemy In Me” – the song has almost a heavy metal twist to it. Fantastic! The whole dish is completed by the marvellous “Laughing At Tomorrow”. The drunken choir that yells over the chorus sounds both charming and mischievous. They end the album with a party – way to go, boys.

Did I think that the guys would be able to top their last album? I gave their last album 8/10, but had I reviewed it today, I’d given it a 9, so even if i had my suspicions, I didn’t think they could better that album. But they did. They damn well did. The only negative thing I can say about this album is that the title is a big cliché and kinda cheesy. Titles like “Break Down the Walls” and this should be prohibited by law to be used in this day and age as they have been used to death. But if that is the only complaint then I guess the guys had done their job. And then some. Eric Rivers has done a magnificent job as the sole guitar player in the band now that Dave has gone and I did name check every single song on the album and I couldn’t find one single negative thing to say about any of them. The production, once again by the melodic rock genius Tobias Lindell (Europe, Mustasch), is brisk, loose and breathing, but still with a clear soundstage and a commercial touch. Also, H.E.A.T. has never sounded heavier than on this record. I put their last album in the AOR category, but this is hard rock, yet a more melodic kind. But the guitars are up their and Crash’s (hmm, I’m not too sure about his stage name) drums are slamming while Jona Tee’s keyboards screams more than beeps. I bow to the guys for making such an honest and down to earth record and the fact that they now do exactly what pleases them, hence the album’s title. Anything else than a 10/10 for this album is unthinkable. Another runner-up for the Album Of The Year.

Jon Wilmenius (10/10)

1. Point Of No Return
2. A Shot At Redemption
3. Inferno
4. The Wreckoning (instrumental)
5. Tearing Down The Walls
6. Mannequin Show
7. We Will Never Die
8. Emergency
9. All The Nights
10. Eye For An Eye
11. Enemy In Me
12. Laughing At Tomorrow

 

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6 comments on “H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls

    • Well, it’s all about taste so what I think is a 10/10 might a 5 for someone else. But I’d really advice you to check this out.
      Also, I gave Laney’s Legion 10/10 as well. If you haven’t read that review, then do it and then check that one out as well. 🙂

  1. I agree with every word. I was like you no fan of H.e.a.t. And when i heard that Erik was going to be the new singer i just shook my head in despair. Then came Adress the nation and i had to take it all back and surrender. So my expectations for this album was pretty high. But oh my god i could not believe what i just heard. I had to text my best friend rightaway telling him to immiedetly go out on spotify and listen. It is so amazingly good . Its not the record of the year. Its the album of a decade. It is just breathtaking. And then four days latervi saw them in Gothenburg and was totally blown away. Niwvim going to see them for the second time in Trollhättan on saturday. I just cant wait.

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