earMUSIC [Release Date 20.2.15]
2014 saw young Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T. gain significant traction with their fourth album ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ (GRTR! critics’ best of 2014). They really seem to have a special relationship with the UK audiences, so it seems appropriate that they maintain the momentum with a first live release, taken from the show at a sweaty Highbury Garage last May. I remember it well and concluded my review by saying ‘the Tearing Down The Walls tour certainly did what it said on the tin on this night – with H.E.A.T’s swagger, showmanship and energy’.
The sound does not seem to have been polished up too much and, combined with song intros and ad libs being left in, the album has a satisfying official bootleg type feel to it. In doing so it successfully conveys the on stage energy of the band witnessed that night and hyperactive frontman Erik Gronwall in particular, and in that sense avoids the perils of some live albums in sounding like studio versions with a live audience.
There is a great mix of chest beating anthems such as the opening pair of ‘Point Of No Return’ and ‘A Shot At Redemption’, and more reflective moments such as ‘In And Out of Trouble’ (where Dragonforce’s Herman Li joined them, though he is not announced) and ‘Downtown’.
You can pick out the crowd joining in the anthemic chorus on ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ while Erik’s exhortation to the crowd to start headbanging at the start of ‘Mannequin Show’ reminds you that H.E.A.T. are a much heavier proposition than when they started out and the aggression of ‘Inferno’ and ‘Enemy In Me’ bears this out.
They save the best to last with a two song encore from the previous ‘Address The Nation’ album in ‘Breaking The Silence’ and ‘Living On The Run’. The latter is one of the best commercial rock songs this decade and as the memorable chorus gives way to Erik thanking everyone ‘for a fantastic night’ and a typically fluent guitar solo from Eric Rivers leading into a final refrain, memories come flooding back of how all seemed well with the world at that moment.
The album is the complete show from that night with the exception of the audience participation number ‘Beg Beg Beg’, presumably to make it fit a single CD, and ‘Danger Road’ which was ruined on the night by a malfunctioning keyboard.
That leaves the band’s earlier, more AOR period only represented by ‘1000 miles’(itself dropped from the set later in the year) and ‘Late Night Lady’, and hence the album is an accurate representation of where H.E.A.T. are at present.
If you haven’t yet caught up with the future of melodic rock, which I strongly suggest you do, this is a good place to start, conveying the excitement and dynamism of their live show.
Review by Andy Nathan
Gig review (May 2014)
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