As subtle as a brick and as silly as a juggling monkey riding a unicycle, Swedish Hard Rockers H.E.A.T are back with new album Force Majeure (earMUSIC). It is the Swedes seventh record and despite its over the top, everything and the kitchen sink nature it is a damn good time. It is a rich mixture of AOR, glam metal and hard rock with big riffs, flashy solos and huge choruses coming at you thick and fast.
First track ‘Back To The Rhythm’ is a pacey and wonderfully jaunty rocker with an earworm of a chorus that is now permanently lodged in my head. Latest single ‘Hollywood’ is a highlight, it is a cheesy slice of eighties glam with a flamboyant solo and a sunny hook straight from ‘86. Original singer Kenny Leckremo is back in the fold, replacing his replacement (who is now fronting Skid Row), and he fits in seamlessly – his impressive pipes lending a Europe vibe to stomping tracks like ‘Tainted Blood’.
It does occasionally sag under the weight of its own bombast, with only the flashy Whitesnake-esque solo standing out from ‘Not For Sale’, and they do over egg the pudding at times, prime example being the expectant ballad ‘One Of Us’. Things are lifted back up by the ‘Unskinny Bop’-like bouncing bass and the glossy, Giant melodies of ‘Hold Your Fire’.
At times it feels like a guilty pleasure – the triumphal, victory music intro of ‘Paramount’ for example – but as is their raison d’etre it is over the top but darn catchy. Also, if ever a song was tailor made for a Paramount Plus advert… The album ends on a good note as well, with the pseudo power metal of ‘Demon Eyes’ with its lightning quick guitars and pounding drums.
Force Majeure is a hefty slice of eighties Hard Rock, with all the massive riffs, solos and choruses you expect. It may be OTT and so cheesy it should come with a health warning, but it is fun and irresistibly catchy.
8 / 10