If you have ever watched Eurovision and felt your ears prick up and your pulse increase when the two or three random Scandinavian radio friendly metal acts come on, then Sweden’s H.E.A.T is the band for you.
An ‘80s rock revival is playing out before our eyes, or at least our ears, and even though die hard metal fans will tell you it never left, big guitars, big choruses, and even bigger hair is back. If you still have doubts, look it up – while their albums may be gathering dust alongside your old denim jacket, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses are suddenly playing arena tours to 50,000 seater stadiums nightly across the US. In Europe, this year’s summer festival season was awash with power metal up-and-comers, and H.E.A.T is leading the charge.
Boasting a Eurovision final-round appearance in the Swedish qualifiers, and the careful parachuting of Sweden Idol winner Erik Grönwall into the lead role, H.E.A.T has always had media-savvy polish, but with the return of original front man Kenny Leckremo, they have finally added some real bite. The end result is 11 tracks of soaring, addictive, fun, sing-along metal anthems for the new millennium.
This pop metal masterpiece grips you from the start; ‘Back to the Rhythm’ quickly followed by ‘Nationwide’ packs the best one-two punch since Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’ and ‘Rock the Night’ hit our then brand-new CD players back in 1986. By the time you’ve got through ‘Tainted Blood’ and ‘Harder to Breathe’, you’re already excited about listening to this album again. ‘One of Us’ delivers the power ballad you knew you needed, and just when you thought the band surely must have run out of hooks, they trot out ‘Wings of an Aeroplane’ to finish on a perfect note.
Sure, the lyrics are corny, and musically you’ve heard it all before, which all just somehow combines to leave the listener feeling more satisfied and happy than cynical.
For me personally, the years of harbouring a useless trivia night super power have finally come full circle; ‘80s hair metal is back, and this album is not only your gateway to its future, but an excuse to dust off some of your old favourites (and your air guitar) from the past.
H.E.A.T is a force to be reckoned with.