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HEAVEN & EARTH


HEAVEN & EARTH 

"Hard to Kill'

By Dark Starr

I've seen this act qualified as prog rock. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment, at least as it applies to this album, and this is all I've heard from these guys. Make no mistake, though, progressive rock or not, these guys are potent. Everyone in the band seems to bring a lot of passion and style. Their brand of hard rock is classic and timeless. This is a great band. Not only does this include the CD, but there is a DVD with in-studio videos for all the songs. That's cool enough, but really just icing on the cake. 


Powering in like you walked in on an ongoing song, the title track shifts out after a time to something that has a proggy kind of Deep Purple meets Dream Theater kind of vibe. Comparisons to Rainbow would be warranted, too. The vocals come over bringing a real stadium rock kind of vibe to it. It is a powerhouse that works really well. The keyboard solo section later in the track really brings the prog elements home to roost. 

"Walk Away" feels quite metallic. It is a hard edged rocker that again makes me think of Rainbow a bit. I love the melodic guitar solo later in the track. It almost sounds like Ritchie Blackmore to some degree. This is definitely a powerhouse cut. If the whole disc were this, it probably wouldn't land under prog rock. That said, again the keyboard soloing brings that angle to it. 

Another hard rocking tune, "Till It's Over" is less metallic than the previous one. There is still plenty of that Rainbow edge to it, though. I dig the guitar solo segment a lot. With "Bleed Me Dry" we get a ballad. It has a lot of that classic hard rock sound. 
The bass starts "The Game Has Changed." It works out from there into another smoking hot hard rocker. I'm again reminded of Rainbow - particularly the Dio era of that band - quite a bit. It drops back on the verse to a less powered up sound. This has a nice balance between rocking and mellower stuff. It gets into some really soaring territory. The instrumental section includes some cool blues rocking jamming with different instruments getting short blasts of spotlight. The harmonica lends something special to this. 
Another bluesy rocking jam, "Anthem" is almost heavy metal. It really screams. Percussion and keyboards open "Monster," bringing some prog rock elements with them. The guitar rises up with a meaty hard rocking vibe. There is a real metal edge to this in a lot of ways. 
"L.A. Blues" quite literally is a hard rocking blues number. It's a classy tune. It's another that makes me think of Rainbow to some degree. It really rocks. Another killer hard rocker, "Hellfire" combines a metal edge with a blues rock basis and some proggy elements on the instrumental work. This is a real screamer. 
Based on a cool guitar riff, the hard rocker titled "Beautiful Monsters" is another powerhouse. It's also another piece that makes me think of Rainbow.  A slow, bluesy stomper, "Bad Man" is a classy cut. I love the guitar solo section on this. It's so meaty. The keyboard soloing near the end of the piece brings some progressive rock elements to it. I dig the mellow section that comes in at the end of that. A quick burst of sound closes the album.