98/100? Come on Andrew!
H.E.A.T are back to prove they are the absolute gold standard when it comes to delivering instantly catchy, well-written melodic hard rock.
They’re also back with original singer Kenny Leckremo following the sad departure of mega-star vocalist Erik Gronwall who helmed the last 4 studio albums. The bad news was kept to a minimum with the announcement Kenny would return to add to his own legacy with the band, having fronted the first two records. I love it how these guys seem to manage to keep any line-up changes ‘within the family’.
So where does H.E.A.T go for their seventh studio outing? Back to the more AOR sound of the first two records or more commercial like Into The Great Unknown? Or do they keep the momentum of the cracking pace of the last album HEAT 2 and the harder hitting style of the ‘Erik years’?
While Kenny may bring a slightly different vocal style to the party, the songwriting and direction on ‘Force Majeure’ is very much a continuation of the last album and the ‘Address The Nation’/’Tearing Down The Walls’ style of the band. So this is basically H.E.A.T 3 – or H.E.A.T 2 Kenny-style. The same urgent tempo, the same big production and the same big melodies are all over this record.
It is nothing short of classic H.E.A.T through and through.
The format and structure of previous albums is also largely adhered to, with songs here reminding me of the band’s best moments on songs such as Point Of No Return, Breaking The Silence, It’s All About Tonight and Living On The Run.
Harder To Breathe dips into ‘Into The Great Unknown’ territory, but for the rest of the album I’m hearing ‘H.E.A.T 2’ meets ‘Address The Nation’.
Once again, it is killer song after killer song – this band can do (and has done) no wrong.
The three singles Back To The Rhythm, Nationwide and Hollywood all show what the band are capable of, but there’s another 8 classic rockers to look forward to.
Tainted Blood, Not For Sale, Hold Your Fire and Wings of An Aeroplane all deliver and Demon Eyes is the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard Kenny sing.
Only the dramatic and heavy ballad One Of Us slows the pace of the album at all, providing another big highlight. The big anthemic Paramount is something a little different for the guys but keeps in the spirit of the H.E.A.T sound.
With no surprise to any follower of the band, they have proved yet again, they are a magnificent outfit and haven’t let the change of vocalist slow them down in any way. Kenny sings his absolute heart out on this record – probably the best I’ve ever heard his voice.
11 new fantastic tracks to add to the band’s already magnificent career. The definition of force majeure is “irresistible compulsion or superior strength…” Yes, H.E.A.T are an indeed an irresistible compulsion with superior strength!
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SHIRAZ LANE – Forgotten Shades Of Life (2022)
AUGUST 11, 2022
various sources internet
Finnish rockers SHIRAZ LANE consisting of lead vocalist Hannes Kett, lead guitarist Jani Laine, rhythm guitarist Miki Kalske, bassist Joel Alex and drummer Ana Willman will be releasing their third full-length studio album ”Forgotten Shades of Life” on August 12, 2022.
The new CD combines the melodic feel and heaviness from previous albums with a fresh versatile approach from head-banging hard rock riffing to power ballads and classic rock’n’roll groove.
“Back to Life“ opens the album with a bullet of a tune – from the opening riffs you begin to experience the amazing talent that is Shiraz Lane. Thumping along Hannes demonstrates his simply stunning vocal range. The song powers along with subtle drop-offs in pace bringing back memories of Shark Island‘s “Paris Calling“.
“Maniac Dance“: provides a slightly funkier vibe, full of those great riffs, and catchy chorus this is gonna be a crowd favourite. The track heads towards a positively blues crescendo, demonstrating their ability in mixing it up but still coming back with a final blast of the infectious chorus.
“Scream“: not a new song to many but great to see it on the track listing. This song represents the demons many of us face with mental health issues. The top end of Hannes‘s vocal range is incredible in this catchy song, sorry ANTHEM… Expect this to appear on many live set lists, and that is great news for the fans.
“Forgotten Shades of Life“: the title track of the album brings us some respite with a slightly slower pace, but no less intensity. Almost a Led Zep vibe at times, but once again Shiraz pull it out the bag with this ‘lighter’, or ‘mobile phone’, in the air offering.
“Beat of Your Heart“: is a full-on 80’s hard rock ballad. Powerful lyrics, great chorus, almost dare I say Queen-esque vocal support, they have absolutely nailed this killer ballad.
“Animal“: picks up the pace again and powers us into something faster and heavier. You can’t help but bang your head to this absolute belter of a track. Dare I say there are almost early Metallica traits when Jani brings his axe to the party.
“Disconnect from the Matrix“ is another hard thumping track, once again mixing up the pace as the track progresses. This is something we’ve not heard from Shiraz before, but as the whole album is proving to be full of new ideas, it just proves that Shiraz are not afraid to break new ground, whilst keeping that catchy, thought-provoking, chorus and thumping riffs.
“Haunted House“ launches us into Southern rock sound and vibe to it. The riffs are less apparent there is a lighter feel with this tune, a little more commercial sounding to what has come before, but nonetheless the song is still catchy.
“Who’s Watching“ opens with saxophones… What? I’m now transported into a blues club as this 2-minute epilogue to “Haunted House” brings us back to earth and allows us time to take a breath. Good job as it’s getting harder to breathe. “Letter to Yourself“ is another ballad that wouldn’t go amiss on MTV back in the ’80s. Hannes‘s voice is once again demonstrated to its full in this song proving him to have one of the most incredible and unique voices and vocal ranges in the current rock scene.
“Imagination“: concludes the album and provides a 6-minute roller-coaster of varying paces and styles. All held together in true big chorus Shiraz style.
This album is another massive step forward for Shiraz Lane in their bid to stamp their authority on the current rock scene. Utilizing Hannes‘s unique vocals to the max this album offers fantastic riffs, fantastic tunes, unbelievably catchy choruses and demonstrates that Shiraz Lane continue to progress as a band.
This is a great album from a band which doesn’t repeat themselves – but still 100% Shiraz Lane, and that is a very good thing.
01 – Back to Life
02 – Maniac Dance
03 – Scream
04 – Forgotten Shades of Life
05 – Beat of Your Heart
06 – Animal
07 – Disconnect from the Matrix
08 – Haunted House
09 – Who’s Watching?
10 – Letter to Yourself
11 – Imagination
lead vocals – Hannes Kett
lead guitar – Jani Laine
rhythm guitar – Miki Kalske
bass – Joel Alex
drums – Ana Willman
Trust me, I am the biggest of Tesla fans. Watched their DVD 1,000 times. They were one of the best bands out there. I even loved Bust A Nut, considered their worst disc.
But this is rubbish that I'm embarrassed to call Tesla. Same as the last few albums. Simplicity and the Def Leppard album were just so bad. They miss Tommy Skeoch I think.
Maybe you'll have better luck than me with it.
Seriously one of the most disappointing albums for me that I can remember. These guys had been on such a roll and an upward trajectory for me. This has sent them crashing back down. The songs just feel like they're all over the place.
I had read somewhere that one reason they left Frontiers was because they wanted more creative control. If this is what that looks like, it was a big mistake IMO.