H.E.A.T – “Force Majeure”

By Colonel Angus

Swedish melodic rockers are back with another group of tracks that follow their tried and true formula. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Back in the day, I would follow a lot of melodic rock acts but just like metal in the later 80s, the field just got so congested with so many bands that were starting to sound similar. I always felt H.E.A.T rose above the rest and stood out as one of the more worthy bands to vie for my precious time and money.

Starting with their debut back in 2008, these guys have released quite a few records in a short amount of time with “Force Majeure” being their seventh studio effort. Back into the fold is original vocalist Kenny Leckremo and he puts on a great vocal performance throughout this new disk. Although Erik Grönwall did a spectacular job with the records that he was on, I always liked Leckremo’s vocals. That being said, it doesn’t matter how good the singer or the other players are if the songs aren’t any good. Well, “Force Majeure” is really great but I don’t think is it their best effort. That being said, a good song by H.E.A.T is better than most melodic bands can come up with so that says something.

“Force Majeure” starts off really strong with a one two punch of “Back to the Rhythm” and “Nationwide”. Both tracks have that hallmark H.E.A.T sound with melodic riffing and catchy choruses. They have a knack for being able to write tunes that will have you humming them for days. So they started off with a melodic rock anthem, then a fast rocker, so then we needed a track that just oozes melodic rock swagger. “Tainted Blood” fills that category with ease and then some. Next up is”Hollywood” where I feel that things fall off a bit with a chorus that I feel is forced. The rest of the track is really good but the chorus on “Hollywood” lets it down.

Thankfully, that was only a minor speed bump as “Harder to Breathe” brings the quality back to where it should be. Each time I listen to the record, I seem to have a new favorite song but this one comes up a lot. There is just something about it that is simple and straightforward but yet the guys make is spectacular. “Not For Sale” is another quality melodic rocker but it does not have the same “x-factor” as the previous track. But make no mistake, it is still a great tune that should never be skipped. The same can’t be said about “One of Us”. The repetitive chorus ruins this power ballad that sadly contains some great guitar work. Happily, that is the last dip in quality as the rest of the disk is top quality melodic metal. The best of the bunch on the back end of this record has to be “Demon Eyes”. It has all the great elements of a H.E.A.T track but also given an extra kick of adrenaline to speed things up to showcase the metal part of this band. So for an album with 11 songs, there are only 2 that fall short. That makes 9 tunes that I feel most bands would kill to put on their albums. I still stand by my original assessment that this isn’t H.E.A.T’s best effort (I like “Tearing Down the Walls” a lot) but “Force Majeure” is certainly a close second. And who knows, after some time, I may grow to like it even more.