H.E.A.T is a band that technically should be able to be placed nicely into a genre among countless other bands. They are a rock band. A melodic rock band. A Swedish melodic rock band. Yet still they somehow are just one of those bands that once you understand their capacity as songwriters and performers it is clear that tossing them onto a pile of countless other rock bands just is not right. H.E.A.T is a band that stands out and on “II” they make sure we know it. With that said, I have been procrastinating with this review. I was ready for a new album that had a similar vibe as Into the Great Unknown with maybe some of the edge of Tearing Down the Walls. Expectations however don’t get you far with H.E.A.T. As they’ve come back with what many people are calling their second debut and based on the direct approach it’s hard to argue. H.E.A.T II leaves no gaps in their purpose and charges full throttle in a demand to be taken out of the pile of just another rock band.
H.E.A.T are heavyweights and show it on the songwriting for II. It is the type of songwriting that can instantly change the atmosphere it inhabits. So direct and forceful that it seems to feel up the space around you when you listen to it, turning almost anything you do into a cooler experience, maybe I’ll list some examples later. Anyway, on surface level it may seem that these songs have less depth than some of the more experimental songs H.E.A.T created for their last album and in some ways that is true. Let’s imagine H.E.A.T as a boxer, fans of the band will know this isn’t an analogical stretch by any means. H.E.A.T (the boxer) has been getting stronger and more formidable with each round (each album, try to keep up). “Into the Great Unknown” was H.E.A.T at their most subtle and precise, bobbing and weaving in with technique reserved for only the best of the best. H.E.A.T II is full on haymakers, H.E.A.T II is a man who has decided this fight is about to end and it’s not going to go to a decision. Each song lands with full and decisive impact. Specifically each song could be discussed but I already wasted so much time with that analogy let’s just say if you listen to the track “We Are Gods” and don’t agree with them or can’t see that song filling up the space of a sold out stadium you’re dead wrong.
It’s impossible to discuss H.E.A.T without talking about the individual performances by each member. These are some of the most individually talented musicians in rock music. Crash and Jimmy Jay are arguably one of the best rock engines in the game, driving the pace of the album relentlessly. Jona Tee adds has an unrivaled sense of melody and adds a significant upper layer to the atmosphere of the album. Now, since it’s a rock album we are going to have to highlight the guitars and the vocals and H.E.A.T makes that so easy. If there is one element of this album that is undeniably the best it’s ever been for the band it is the lead guitars. The riffs are monsters yes, but these solos are perfectly melodic with incredibly impressive shred runs weaved in. Dave Dalone could be in top rock guitarists conversations with names like Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach without a problem after this album. Then there’s Erik Grönwall. If there was a knockout punch of the band he is it. The energy he has as a performer and vocalist sometimes seems impossible to capture on a recording but this album is a big step towards that goal. Again, see “We Are Gods” as an example.
H.E.A.T II is a next level rock album. There’s not one riff on this album that doesn’t demand to be at full volume and not one hook that is not instantly additive. This album may be slightly less emotive and experimental than Into the Great Unknown but it shifts into a more direct and purposeful gear. I would be shocked if this new gear doesn’t triple their fanbase. Get into it now if you’re not already.
For Fans of: Whitesnake, Winger, Shiraz Lane, Dynazty
H.E.A.T Merch and Pre-Orders available now at Merchbooth.net
Like mentioned above this album can change the atmosphere of anything you are doing. Here are some examples of things made more impactful while playing H.E.A.T II:
-Accelerating your car
-Looking over at the car next to you at a stoplight
-Walking basically in any and every situation
-Watching Instagram videos of The Rock lifting weights
-Air instrumenting of any kind
-Probably buying a new leather jacket
Review By: Sean Cantor