Sunday, August 13, 2017

H.E.A.T.: ”Into The Great Unknown”

Rating: RRRR
Label: Gain/earMUSIC
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

”Into The Great Unknown”, the new H.E.A.T. album is one of the most eagerly awaited albums of the melodic rock genre this year. The first single was released on 11th of August and it has recieved mixed reactions, as has the album from those who have had the access to it. Some say it's the greatest thing the band has released while others have been highly critical. I personally like it, but not quite as much as their previous two albums. Those I rank as modern day classics.

The "controversial" first single "Time On Our Side" doesn't represent the whole album, it's one of the more contemporary, pop-oriented tracks. I like it a lot; haunting keyboards, great vocal from Erik Grönwall and plenty of melody. Given the right exposure it might become a crossover hit. But those of you who are worried that the band has sold their souls for possible chart success, hold your horses... some of the tracks on this album rock harder than ever before. Whether you like it or not.

"Bastard Of Society" and "Shit City" are just as angry as their titles suggest, definitely not "AOR". "BoS" is a pretty standard turbocharged H.E.A.T. rocker with a shout-along chorus, a decent opener for the album. "Shit City" then... I don't like it at all, it's a bit of a plodder and the hook could use some, or make that a lot of sharpening. Between these two you'll find "Redefined", a modern pop rock track and a relative of "Time On Our Side". I like it but is it a future H.E.A.T. classic? I don't think so.

"Best Of The Broken" is a harder-edged track again, and while it has its' moments, I don't rate it as one of the better tracks. The balladic "Eye Of The Storm"  is among them though, as is "Blind Leads The Blind", possibly my favourite track of the album. This is the H.E.A.T. I love, powerful yet melodic!

"We Rule" is an interesting, very Queen-like anthem. I'm still on the fence when it comes to "Do You Want It", there's something terribly annoying in it yet it's terribly catchy too. Maybe I do want it.

The title track closes the album and does it in grand fashion. I rarely like this kind of slow-paced  songs, but this one is rescued by a chorus that's pure gold.

That was the track-by-track review... Overall I'd say the album sounds great, and Erik shines on every track. I don't mind the modern influences, but I do mind that aren't as many great tracks as on the previous albums. Apparently there's a bonus track on the Japanese version called "F.Y.I. Miley", but somehow I don't have great hopes for it being a massively melodic hard rock anthem.

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