H.E.A.T – one of the very best bands in the world are back in action after a well deserved break. I knew this album was going to be a left turn, as just after the release of Tearing Down The Walls, Jona Tee commented to me that the band would ‘do something a little different’ next time.
Into The Great Unknown is that ‘next time’ and yes, it is different. But it’s also a bloody fantastic slice of modern melodic rock.
The band has delivered two amazing albums in one style, another two classics (if you ask me) with Erik Gronwall fronting the band and now it’s on to a new phase with guitarist Dave Dalone coming back to replace Eric Rivers.
Into The Great Unknown is different on a couple of fronts. It freely uses production effects and a modern production style, plus it also dares to innovate on the songwriting side.
There’s more keyboards on this album than any of the 4 previous, with Jona using a lot of different tricks throughout the album.
The album is also laid out in the sometimes confronting rocker/mellow/rocker/mellow sequence.
Some fans are going to over-react to the updated sound here. Sometimes I think reading many comments can inadvertently effect your own opinion. I’ve read many – some love this, some love parts of the album, others are ranking it the weakest of the band’s output thus far.
But realistically it is none of the above. Those type of comments have followed each of the band’s releases. Why? Because they are that good! They evoke passion among their fans that any band would envy and I don’t know many bands out there today that can boast 5 albums of the quality that H.E.A.T has delivered.
What Into The Great Unknown is for H.E.A.T is just another stunning slice of music that challenges the listener and breaks new commercial ground for a band that hasn’t stood still from Day 1.
If you want your favourites to continually repeat the formula, you know where you can find those types of artists.
Into The Great Unknown should be used as a benchmark in modern melodic rock production. And the songwriting is every bit as good to match. You may not pick these songs as favourites, but there’s no denying the quality. The album has been on high rotation with me for well over 2 months now. And personally speaking, it may not equal the playback longevity of Address The Nation and Tearing Down The Walls, but it isn’t far off and I’m not close to being tired of it yet.
So many layers of vocals, instrumentation and a lot of orchestration behind the main sounds.
The rockers – Bastard Of Society and Shit City are in your face, high octane, adrenaline filled stadium blasters, while Best of The Broken builds like a beast, breaking into a classic Heat chorus.
The keyboard infused Blind Leads The Blind has to be one of the band’s best flat out heavy rockers, while the album closes with the double dose of intelligent songwriting with Do You Want It, featuring some falsetto vocals that just sound so fitting, yet original and the epic 7 minute classic Heat rocker Into The Great Unknown. Fabulous harmonies and performances.
The mellow/melodic tracks – Redefined is magnificent. Think Mr. Big’s Take Cover – one of my favourite songs – this has the same quality and passion and the vocals are quite something.
Time On Our Side made waves for being the first single and possibly the most outside the box track on the album. I would not have released this as the album’s first marker. But it is stunning nevertheless. The chorus is monstrous and it’s so cool to hear a “ballad” rock along as the pace this does.
Eye Of The Storm is simply one of the best ballads I’ve heard in a decade. It’s just beyond huge. And the impassioned We Rule is the band’s ode to Queen’s Show Must Go On meets We Are The Champions – and its every bit as big. Erik Gronwall is the vocalist of the decade.
The Japanese bonus track Free Your Inner Miley is a balls to the wall old-school double time hard rocker with a huge groove and another memorable hook and harmony. Well worth tracking down. The band recorded 14 tracks for this album overall, so there’s 3 more to come at some point.
I wanted to keep this brief, but when an album this big and important comes along, it’s vital to capture all necessary thoughts. So in summary – freeking amazing production (and those streaming or MP3-ing are missing out BIG time). Musically it is bold, brave and takes necessary risks to broaden the fanbase and remain fresh. It’s simply another amazing piece of art that if released under a new band name would be hailed as the “next Heat”!
Very proud of the guys and everyone in the Heat camp. This is wonderful.
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