Today, I offer you my choice of album for the number 4 spot in my Album of the Year 2014 countdown.
As always, links to the other posts in my series can be found at the bottom of this article, so please check them out if you’ve yet to read them – I’m always interested in hearing people’s opinions, so if you think I’ve got it right or wrong, tell me.
And with that, let me reveal my choice at Number 4…
Some people may be surprised to see a melodic hard rock album feature so high in my Album of the Year 2014 countdown. It is the Blog Of Much Metal after all. However, I have a real soft spot for this slightly more ear-friendly saccharine genre of music. I refer to it as summer music, the kind of fare that you listen to on warm, sunny days and sing along to with real gusto. Put more succinctly, it’s ‘feel good’ music. When done well, it can be fantastic and where H.E.A.T are concerned, it is done very well indeed.
I reviewed ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ around its release and I still stand by what I wrote, several months later. The full track by track review can be read here, but the following is a direct quote:
‘One of the hardest things for any band to do, regardless of the longevity of their career or their popularity is to follow up a great album. In the case of Swedish melodic hard rockers H.E.A.T, that great album in my opinion was 2012’s ‘Address The Nation’. It remains a regular on my playlist and, if I was forced to choose, I’d say it was in my top 3 of melodic hard rock albums. So it is the highest accolade that I can bestow on it’s follow-up and the band’s fourth full-length release, to say that ‘Tearing Down The Walls’, matches it and maybe even beats it.
Naturally, I had high hopes for ‘Tearing Down The Walls’, but then it seems that anyone who knows anything about H.E.A.T also had high hopes. Moreover, there was a certain expectation amongst many that this album would, or should, be very good indeed. The great news is that it is very good indeed and has been glued to my stereo for several days now, with no sign of being ejected. Suffice to say that Messrs Grönwall (vocals), Tee (keyboards), Rivers (guitars), Jay (bass) and Crash (drums) should be very proud of their efforts on this album.’
Never mind a few days, the fact is that ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ has remained glued to my stereo for the remainder of the year. I may wander off to listen to other things as is natural, but even after several months, I gravitate back to the record very regularly and the enjoyment levels never diminish.
In fact, if anything, the record gets better with time. There’s a surprising amount of subtlety to a lot of the music and what appears on the surface to be a collection of no-nonsense hard rock anthems, is actually a lot more complex and clever than that. Of course, if you just want to rock out or get an instant hit of great music, then ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ will deliver and does deliver in spades. But there’s more to the album than that and it’s credit to the band for being able to blend the two facets so seamlessly. Personally, I think it has a lot to do with the brilliant songwriting skills of H.E.A.T – they make it all seem so effortless.
Having said all that, the overall effect of this album on me is rather straightforward; I simply get swept up in it. The heady mix of powerful driving rock, hook-laden choruses, abundant attitude and subtle sophistication of ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ is utterly infectious and completely impossible to ignore.
Check out the other posts in this series:
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 5
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 6
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 7
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 8
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 9
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 10
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 11
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 12
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 13
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 14
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 15
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 17
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 18
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 20
And if you’re interested, my similar countdowns from previous years can be accessed here: