Published on November 18th, 2017 | by Justin G.
H.E.A.T: Into the Great Unknown (EarMusic)
Remember when the arrival of a new H.E.A.T album wasn’t the biggest event of the year in the melodic rock scene? Ever since they debuted in 2008, the Swedish band has taken the melodic rock world by storm. So naturally their latest album Into the Great Unknown comes with very high expectations.
From the very beginning, H.E.A.T’s formula has been simple: combine the best parts of the late ‘80s melodic rock sound with a strong pop sensibility and a modern energy. That basic formula hasn’t changed over the course of five albums, though you could argue that the pop side has taken a more prominent role, especially on Into the Great Unknown. The songs are as catchy as ever, and there’s a great crossover appeal (at least in Europe). Essentially you know what you’re getting here, and there are very few surprises.
Predictable isn’t necessarily a bad thing from a band who has released four 5-star albums in a row. Does Into the Great Unknown measure up though? The songs are strong, but for the first time ever a H.E.A.T album didn’t blow me away on the first spin, or even the second. After 3-4 spins I was much more into the album, but that instant addiction factor wasn’t there. The album has all the boxes checked though: killer hooks, memorable melodies, a high “fun factor” and of course those powerhouse Erik Gronwall vocals. Leadoff rocker “Bastard of Society” is an early favorite, as are “Best of the Broken” and “Blind Leads the Blind.” The mellower “Redefined” and ultra-poppy “Do You Want It” may throw some people off, but they really grow on you, and the title track is a great way to close down the album. “Shit City” is the only song that never managed to win me over, and even that one has a melody that will probably break my resistance at some point.
It may not be as perfect as the albums that came before it, but Into the Great Unknown is another fantastic album from one of the very best melodic rock bands around. I’d have to put it right up there with the new Eclipse album, and it’s definitely an album that’s going to be played – a lot – while I’m waiting for album #6.
PS – American fans are going to have a rare chance to see H.E.A.T live at next year’s MelodicRock Fest 5 event. Do not miss out!
Summary: It grows on you...a lot