REVIEW BY: Alan Holloway
Exactly six years after their surprisingly excellent debut, Swedish sensations H.E.A.T are back with a fourth album that seems to be a massive “fuck you” to anyone who doesn’t play music for the sheer joy of it. Anyone who has seen them live will know that these lads bounce about like a hyperactive kid in a sugar factory, doing their best to transfer the smiles on their faces to the audience, and once again they’ve carried this attitude onto an album.
“Tearing Down The Walls” is absolutely stuffed full of first class AOR tracks, showing a band who really know how to put together a catchy tune. This may seem an obvious way to go about things, but there’s a hundred average AOR albums out there for every one that makes you play air guitar and sing along at embarrassing volume whilst walking your dog on the beach (like I did this morning).
Even on such a quality album there will be stand out tracks, and for me there’s a few. Lead single “A Shot At Redemption” is an absolute killer (and perfect single choice), that will blow many socks off live, as will the title track, which is a full on lighter waving anthem with a chorus that begs to be joined in with. I have to single out “We Will never Die” as well, as it would have fitted perfectly on the debut and will have you going “Woah woah!” by the second minute. I also love “Inferno”, a full on rock track that belts along like Usain Bolt with his arse on fire and has a cool, early TNT vibe about it. With that said, the tracks on offer are so pure in their AOR-ness (is that a word? Should be) that bits and pieces will constantly ring little bells in your mind, but as a whole they are pure H.E.A.T. Well, all except one…
Six tracks in, we get to “Mannequin Show”, a mid paced melodic chugger that totally, and I mean TOTALLY, steals the chorus tune from Britney “none more rock” Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again”. From the first time I heard it to the last it totally ruins the track for me, and is an unfortunate blot on an otherwise pristine album. In fairness, I played it to several other people without saying what I thought, and every single one spotted the similarity within ten seconds. Even the totally guitar free ballad “All The Nights” is preferable to hearing Britney in my head. In fairness, the ballad is actually pretty good anyway.
So full marks to H.E.A.T on completing four albums without fucking up. The sound on “Tearing Down The Walls” is excellent thanks to producer Tobias Lindell, and every single band member gets their chance to shine through the mix. Special mention must go to guitarist Eric Rivers for some inspiring and uplifting solos, and I suppose it goes without saying that vocalist Erik Gronwall doesn’t put a foot wrong with a powerful performance. An almost perfect mix of old school AOR and modern teen friendly rock, “Tearing Down The Walls” is as good as, if not better, than anything H.E.A.T have done before. Except for the Britney Spears one, obviously…