Into The Great Unknown
Swedish rockers head to Thailand to lay down tracks for a brand new record. At Karma Sound in Bangkok and with producer Tobias Lindell helming the sessions, ten songs are recorded. The lineup of the band for this set comprises bassist Jimmy Jay, Keys man Jona Tee, Crash on drums, Singer Erik Gronwall and guitar ace Sky Davis – Dave Dalone to you and me. All the songs are almost entirely self-penned ..nowhere to run if things go poorly, lads! BTW, the cosmic album artwork is truly fantastic and makes you want to play the record… a nod then to Vitaly S Alexius.
First cut Bastard Of Society starts with slashes of guitar then a full-blooded band sound punches. Immediately the vocals sound very generic rock BUT like Inglorious superior in tone, phrasing and melodic placement. The lyric is the extremely well-worn ‘I’m a real rebel, me ‘ but delivered this well and with this force and biting guitar…well, it is hard to resist. Best of all this really does sound like a proper band chipping in to bring the song to life.
Redefined has a legato guitar intro over pounding drums and excellent singing. Quite different from the opener and a romantic lyric. The fuzz guitar interludes sound pokey and just right, rhythm chords scratching away and bass worthy of Roger Glover. The keys chatter away, embellishing the composition. On to S**t City which touches on a time when the ensemble’s musical equipment was flooded with sewage – I guess an Andre Rieu cover is unlikely, then? It’s a muscular and anthemic piece, based on a dirty Zappa-ish riff. It is about coming back from grim times and they sound like they will. It occurs that on this form the group would make a good choice for festivals…singalong this number might be, but it has substance and a rather good guitar break @ 2:30.
Time On Our Side has a pumping European rock tempo, the singing reflective. Erik seems to have a box of different voices to delve into for the character of each song and this makes huge difference in keeping the listener’s attention. Best Of The Broken sounds like lost Zombies tune to start with, the group holding back..truly, you could segue from this into She’s Not There. Tempts you to clap along, for sure. Another catchy chunk of rock, with good use of dynamics. The keys-guitar relationship as played out here is one of the best since Steppenwolf. Eye Of The Storm is a touch more like R J Dio in mood, are the ravens going to fly overhead? Rainbow fans should get a listen to this crew!
Blind Leads The Blind takes a camel race tempo and an edgy vocal. The jagged beat shows the band off well though the melody of the chorus sounds awfully familiar to these ears. We Rule has filmic string patch noodling to start, then clanking piano on a flared-nostril tread. The singing is close to anguished, questioning – but it suits the number. The chorus here is horribly reminiscent of F Mercury, for your scribe so not my favourite here.
Do You Want It? is a big sound and a lively tune to kick it off, the vocal conspiratorial and focussed, a fresh counterpoint line cutting over the main thrust, Strangely catchy and well-paced. Seems to be about desire and no, not the bloke at the pub flogging dodgy watches…maybe one of the three best cuts on this collection, for its execution and power. Last selection Into The Great Unknown is about a journey on Southern Rail..nah, just kidding – here they sound a bit proggy and solemn-faced at the beginning but an elastic grinding riff kicks in and it starts to shape up. Is Dave a Zappaphile, I wonder…
Superior melodic rock and maybe the best since the Inglorious debut. For me the killer track is Redefined, strikingly good of its kind, I venture.
H.E.A.T’s new studio album ‘Into The Great Unknown’ is released on Friday 22nd September 2017 by earMUSIC.
For tour dates and band info, drive over to www.heatsweden.com and take care in case plumbing firms come up….