The press release accompanying the promo of this live album from Sweden's hard rock/metal outfit H.E.A.T. opens with the line: "H.E.A.T. is one of those bands which you need to see live on stage." Indeed. I've heard as much. In fact, I did manage to catch some of their set at the now defunct Rockweekend festival in Kilafors Herrgård, Sweden, back in summer 2009, and remember being mightily impressed. The band's bassist, Jimmy Jay, told me during an interview last year that: "..a lot has changed since you saw us last time. It was a lot of energy back then but now it’s like a massive overload of energy." A plethora of invariably glowing live reviews would seem to confirm his self-assured claim. However, with the press blurb stating that you need to see the band on a live stage, it inadvertently discredits experiencing the band in recorded live form. It's almost as if saying: "you need to see them live, but this is second best". Fortunately, though, second best on this occasion is good enough, as 'Live in London' succeeds in capturing some of that much touted energy... and without any visual element, purely in sonic form, of course.
Recorded "mainly" at their May 16th 2014 headline show at London's Garage, H.E.A.T.'s first ever live album captures the band and their arsenal of anthemic, hook-infused songs with an apposite, dynamic sound, full of resonant vigour. However, what's immediately noticeably is the crowd noise that's sporadically introduced into the mix. While not in any way a distraction from the music itself - after all, this is a live album, and sounds as such - it's somewhat amplified in terms of audience capacity. I've attended many gigs at the Garage over the years and the crowd that's audible on 'Live in London' sounds far bigger than what would be heard in reality within this 600 capacity Highbury venue. Granted, H.E.A.T.'s compositions are so anthemically epic that they adhere to an arena, or even stadium, rock vibe, but to incorporate crowd noise beyond the confines of a club venue is a little on the cheeky side. Maybe it's what's meant by "mainly recorded at The Garage". More like, certain takes from other shows were the favoured versions so they opted to take a more flexible approach with the 'Live in London' title.
Still, minor gripes aside, this album goes a long way towards demonstrating just why H.E.A.T. have been making some serious (heat)waves within the hard rock and metal scenes during the past few years. Melodically infectious refrains are abound in each and every song, which predominantly rattles along at an equally infectious up tempo pace. Erik Grönwall's vocals assume a whole new emotional intensity in their live form, and Eric Rivers's guitar work, particularly his soloing, shines with even more vitality than it does on the band's albums. In fact, as if living up to their namesake, the whole band sound on fire. And listening to this album gives me the overriding urge that I really must make the effort to check out H.E.A.T. live once again. Some might call this melodic hard rock cheese. To me, it sounds like it'd me a fuck of a fantastic night.
LIVE IN LONDON
Review by Mark Holmes
23rd February 2015
1) A Point of No Return; 2) A Shot at Redemption; 3) Better Off Alone; 4) 1000 Miles; 5) It's All About Tonight; 6) Inferno; 7) The Wreckoning/Tearing Down The Walls; 8) Mannequin Show; 9) Late Night Lady; 10) In and Out of Trouble; 11) Downtown; 12) Enemy in Me; 13) Emergency; 14) Breaking the Silence; 15) Living on the Run
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...H.E.A.T.'s first ever live album captures the band and their arsenal of anthemic, hook-infused songs with an apposite, dynamic sound, full of resonant vigour."