Friday, 11 May 2012

H.E.A.T. - "Address The Nation" Review

“Address The Nation” 
Genre: Melodic Rock 

Album number three from the Swedish sensations is here at last, finally bringing the incarnation of the band that live audiences have enjoyed since 2010 to an official recording. So how does the first full album to feature former Swedish Idol winner Erik Gronwell fair?

Dear, cherished readers, this is bloody spectacular. Taking its cues from Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Winger, Bonfire, Journey, Dokken and all of the other greats of the AOR/melodic rock heyday, “Address The Nation” offers ten anthems which stand up brilliantly next to the legends the band adores.

However, it's clear from the start with future classic “Breaking The Silence” that the band aren't just playing a bunch of 80s covers. This is melodic rock for here and now, polished, chunky and absolutely effervescent. “Living On The Run”, the first video track, follows that with a sound like Journey with heavier guitars, while “Falling Down” shares a similar atmosphere to Eclipse, or indeed W.E.T. in terms of style.

While some people did balk at the idea of a reality TV star as the new H.E.A.T. vocalist, Erik Gronwell puts in a performance that can only serve to silence any naysayers – this guy is the real deal, offering vocals that bring to mind a cross between Steve Perry and Sebastian Bach's melodic moments. “The One And Only” is a ballad worthy of Bad English, and as the album progresses you discover that the band has taken everything that makes this genre of rock n' roll so wonderful and given it a punchy, modern sheen. 

Yes, it'll come across as unashamedly retro to some people, but that would be missing the point. It's a classic sound, but played with the passion of a vibrant young band who are only just starting to show us what they're made of.

As good as the first two albums from them were, “Address the Nation” redefines the band in grand style and pushes everything to the maximum. The songwriting, musicianship and vocals are all of a ridiculously high standard. Check out the Journey flavoured “Better Off Alone” or the perfect-movie-soundtrack that is “In And Out of Trouble” (featuring a gloriously audacious guitar/saxophone solo trade-off) as great examples of how this genre can sound current without just plundering the past.

Punch those fists in the air. The real thing is back. Now it's time to play your part. Get hold of this album and play it loud and proud.

(My interview with H.E.A.T. is OUT NOW in the current issue of POWERPLAY ROCK AND METAL MAGAZINE)

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