Heaven & Earth - Hard to Kill

Heaven & Earth Hard to Kill cover
Heaven & Earth
Hard to Kill
2017
7
Average: 4.6 (30 votes)
With Deep Purple long unable to be themselves, or at least a convincing, exciting version of themselves for a long time now… bands like Demon’s Eye (feat Doogie White) and Heaven & Earth have come along to pick up the dusty flag of what DP used to represent in the 70s and 80s and fly it proudly once more…
 
These children of “Purple”, led by Stuart Smith, who’s been a bit of a Blackmore disciple and played with his mentor as well in the past, have settled on one Joe Retta as their main vocalist, after enlisting the aid of many-a-famous guests on the first few albums, including Joe Lynn Turner, Kelly Hansen, Glenn Hughes and more...
 
“Hard to Kill”, the eponymous opener of the album, might tease the riff of “Highway Star” here and there, but it does it mostly in a playful “tribute” way, rather than because it needs to do so, as it has a lot of its own charms to display; the authority and ease with which the band assumes the Purple mantle of the mk2-3 eras, is redunculous.
 
“Walk Away” is hard and massive, while not losing sight of its melodic sensibilities.
 
“Till It’s Over” is more bawdy and rock n roll inspired in a cool and vintage way, but with such virility that it sounds way too heavy; think what Mr Big do with the format, only much bigger sounding!
 
“Bleed Me Dry” has Retta offering some of his more passionate deliveries, while channeling his innermost Coverdale, despite hardly sounding like him, timbre wise… as he’s got a ring in his voice the Coverdale lacks, thus resorting in scream rather than singing those “highs”. Superb song nonetheless…
 
“The Game has Changed” begins with some thumbing bass, a wacca-wacca riff, “nananana’s” – the whole nine yards, before it goes “funk”. It then finds itself caught in a web of its own devise, failing to escape the conundrum that these diametrically opposing elements cause it to navigate. It’s got a couple of interesting moments, but while it grooves along nicely, it’s a “no-go” for me.
 
“Anthem” gives away the game, by having massive ooooh’s heralding its monolithic riff; it’s not exactly bad, but think a way more spartan “We Will Rock You” without the chorus… ugh... it would still have the makings of a great song, but…
 
“Monster” is well a massive song, a little rough around the edges, but overall quite nice and reflective of humanity having funked-up real bad.
 
“LABlues” is a somewhat flash, but… penultimately Blues-ey track that makes nice contrast with that monster that precedes it and the pedal to the metal, speed-a-thon that, “Hellfire” is…
 
“Beautiful Monsters” is also making a bit of a commentary about the air that’s gotten into people’s heads, while laying down some impressive guitar and organ solos.
 
Lastly, “Bad Man” is a strong blues-rock entry that rounds off the album, rather appropriately…
 
Performance wise, a very impressive album by Heaven & Earth that however seem to fall a little short, when it comes to the actual songwriting department, in writing songs that people might want to hear… they’ve done so much better in past efforts. Still no reason to turn down the album just because it’s not “perfect”. It should offer purpleheads – some release (that’s the dodgiest pun I’ve ever done right there)…

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