Escape Music [Release date 20.11.20]
Heartwind formed around keyboard player Mikael Rosengren and guitarist Goran Engvall (who also played bass on the album). Since their debut release they have changed vocalists bringing in not one, but two vocalists – Nina Soderquist and Stefan Nykvist – with only drummer Peter Svensson remaining from the original line-up. There are a few notable guest spots too including Mike Lavér (Dynazty), Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse/W.E.T.) and Mats Levén (Malmsteen).
Heartwind’s debut ‘Higher and Higher’, released in 2018, didn’t really do much for me, so expectations weren’t overly high ahead of listening to this album. Pleased to report that ‘Strangers’ is a big improvement all round. From the off ‘Stranger In The Night’ takes the listener on a ride of Scandi melodic treats, with its keys, guitars and catchy chorus.
Nina Soderquist belts it out on ‘Line Of Fire’, a cracking hard rocker, with another fine performance on ‘Angels Cry Again’. The song has a West End/Broadway feel, which suits her style as she has appeared in a number of stage shows.
Stefan Nykvist shows his vocals off to good effect on ‘Amanda’, a song steeped in 80s AOR complete with a scorching solo from Goran Engvall.
There are a few moments of ‘spot the riff’, be it a Kansas or Journey one, but then this sort of music is all about the melodies/songs and having top notch vocalists, which Heartwind certainly have in Soderquist and Nykvist.
Much more impressive than the debut album, ‘Stranger’ is a ‘must have’ for lovers of Scandinavian melodic rock/AOR. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
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