Hot off the Press

H.E.A.T | Tearing Down The Walls

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist —

Tearing_Down_The-_Walls_coverIn 2008, the Swedish melodic rock act named H.E.A.T emerged from the Nordic wilderness to bring catchy guitar-laden melodies and huge ‘80s-infused choruses back with their self-titled debut album. Six years later, they return after some major line-up changes (the departure of their original singer Kenny Leckremo in 2010 and the guitarist Dave Dalone a year ago) and two more albums (Freedom Rock, 2010, and Address The Nation, 2012 – the latter introducing Leckremo’s replacement Erik Grönwall). Their newest effort, a fourth in their overall catalog, has just seen the light of day. And as its title reads – there might be a little havoc out of the listening experience, if one’s to take “tearing down the walls” with the band’s music literally. Are the 12 tracks on the album able to cause at least a tiny crack on the wall of your house, or does it work like a bulldozer that got out of hand? Assuming that your house insurance policy’s paid and all the papers are safe in a filing cabinet, let’s check it out.

A mellow acoustic intro with solemn symphonic overtones makes one wonder is it really H.E.A.T new album … or maybe not? Before you can even think of any different band who’d fit such a picture better, however, a sudden six string attack and one of Erik Grönwall’s trademark high-pitched screams should convince you it’s the same Swedish group known from taking their listeners down the “danger road” and the fruitful acquaintanceship with the “late night ladies.”

The first track, “Point Of No Return,” is something the listeners familiar with the pomp rock aesthetics so characteristic to H.E.A.T should be satisfied with. Its swirling keyboards, blistering lead guitar work and melodic, powerful choruses, all in place, followed up by “A Shot At Redemption” which sounds somewhat country-ish. The well-crafted chorus, on the other hand, bears a resemblance to the early Tyketto. The third track is “Inferno,” with its raw, aggressive, Cräshdiet-esque verses juxtaposed with the infectiously catchy melody of the choruses.

A disturbing, odd interlude “The Wreckoning” – as if borrowed from the horror movie score – smoothly transforms into the title track, being slow-ish and mellow music-wise but nevertheless much upbeat in terms of lyrics. Similarities to the late ‘80s and mid ‘90s bands such as Tyketto, Blonz, Trixter or Harem Scarem are also quite obvious here. Towards the second half of the album, there are more gems to come; “Mannequin Show”, a synthesizer-driven song with fine vocal harmonies, the perfectly crafted melodies of the “We Will Never Die” and “Eye For An Eye”, or the shimmering guitar solo in “Emergency”. There’s also the feisty riff of “Enemy In Me” and keyboard-driven, melodic and very nostalgic “Laughing At Tomorrow”. And yes, only one soaring tearjerker – with the exception of piano-based “All The Nights,” the entirety of Tearing Down The Walls is pure rock.

“There must be something in the water…,” sings Erik Grönwall in the next to last track “Enemy In Me” of Tearing Down The Walls album – and after having listened to the fourth album released by the Swedish band, you have to believe the lead singer. There must be something in the water all across Scandinavia indeed, otherwise there’s no explanation for an increasing number of the talented bands of younger generation, able both to stir interest in the younger listeners and bring back the smile upon the faces of old melodic rock troupers. H.E.A.T definitely remains one of these. And, with what is probably their finest album to date, the newly released Tearing Down The Walls – the Swedes will continue on carrying the torch of melodic hard rock, arena rock … or whatever you’d call this genre based on hooks, melodies, blazing guitars and massive keyboards. And for the fourth time around H.E.A.T proved they’re able to literally “tear down the walls” with their catchy but dynamic sound – this time having it in black and white on the album cover.

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

Erik Grönwall: Vocals
Eric Rivers: Guitars
Jona Tee: Keyboards
Jimmy Jay: Bass
Crash: Drums

Track List:
1. Point Of No Return
2. A Shot At Redemption
3. Inferno
4. The Wreckoning
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

Label: earMUSIC


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10