Welcome to instalment number twenty-one of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. And with it, I enter the top ten. This is where it gets very serious, as I reveal my ten favourite albums of what has been a real killer of a year. Thank goodness for music, because without it, the outlook for many of us would have been incredibly bleak indeed.
Another huge ‘thank you’ to those of you who have stuck with me since the beginning – I hope I’ve not bored you to tears just yet? And if you have only just stumbled across my blog, then you’re very welcome…and I apologise in advance to you too!
As always, forgive me as I want to give my normal reminder to anyone new to this series, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 11, as well as my lists from previous years too.
Score Of Much Metal: 98%
Yes, you read that right. An album that I awarded 98% to, has only just made it into the top 10. Allow me to explain…
I adore this band. In melodic hard rock terms, H.E.A.T are just about peerless. There are a couple of other bands that threaten their crown (W.E.T, Eclipse, and Treat spring to mind), but given their consistency, swagger, and ridiculous talent within this genre, the Swedes are rightly considered world-beating royalty. At the time, I gave it a gushing review, and I honestly thought it would end up higher in my list as a result. But that’s the benefit of time, I guess.
I’m not sure whether the events of 2020 have had an effect, but as much as I loved this record when I first heard it, and continue to love it to this day, other albums have emerged that have resonated more. There is no doubting that this is an exceptional album; to argue otherwise is sheer folly of the highest order. And heaven knows we all need something light-hearted, fun, and a little frivolous to brighten up such a troublesome year. It’s just that the emotional connection is stronger with other records.
If you’re after a slice of the very best that the melodic hard rock genre has to offer, as well as enjoying the last hurrah of vocalist Erik Grönwall within the band, then ‘H.E.A.T II’ is a must-have. Anthemic, ballsy, melodic, cocky…it has everything you want, all rolled up into a collection of finely-honed compositions.
What I wrote at the time:
“…to hear rumours that album number six, entitled ‘H.E.A.T II’ would be more of a throwback to their first couple of albums and therefore more hard-rocking and no-nonsense, was music to my ears. These rumours have proved to be true, although that only tells half of the story, because with ‘H.E.A.T II’, the band have travelled back to their roots whilst also managing to sound fresh, exciting and entirely relevant as we travel headlong into a brand new decade.
…I’m glad I made the effort because, even more unsurprisingly, H.E.A.T have once again delivered an absolute masterclass of melodic hard rock. This is the kind of music that gives you an instant hit of that all-too-rare human emotion of happiness.
What follows, enhanced by a crystal-clear in-house production that was handled by the band themselves, has to be one of my favourites on the album given how many times in the last couple of weeks I have woken up with this song in my mind. Whilst sounding modern, ‘Dangerous Ground’ also has that unmistakable heady 80s vibe to it that’s so addictive.
I begin to feel like I’m stuck in groundhog day because this is the third or fourth review in a row of a H.E.A.T album that has had me reaching for my box of superlatives and where there is literally nothing that I can say to criticise it. But truth is truth and I can’t bend the truth in order to mix things up for you – the fact is that H.E.A.T once again prove that they are a special band and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to melodic hard rock. I cannot recommend this album more highly, it is simply majestic.”
Read the full review here.
The list this year so far…
If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: