H.E.A.T - Into the Great Unknown

H.E.A.T Into the Great Unknown cover
Into the Great Unknown
H.E.A.T, the Swedish melodic whimp-rock champions, have gone through lots of ups and downs with lots of members going in and out, while the band has managed to stick together through thick and thin, while still releasing albums rather frequently and touring them to exhaustion.
After a rather unspectacular, but still with its moments fourth album in “Tearing Down the Walls”, the band tries hard to redefine who they are in 2017 on the brand new “Into the Great Unknown” opus, a fact that becomes instantly obvious from the go…
Opener “Bastard of Society” tries to be a two fisted anthem and it just about manages, even if the sing-along during its chorus sounds a tad forced…
“Redefined” is a more modern and poppy tune that ain’t bad, but is also not really representative of the band’s direction, but more likely of the lack thereof. Again, the chorus is a little forced on, but sort of works… because of how charismatic Eric Grönwall is and how well he’s managed to connect with the rest of the band.
“Shit City” feels like a shitstorm in the making – fine is form and style, but severely lacking in content, unless you’re after scatological references, there are tons of them to be found: “A Shit Sandwich anyone”?
“Time on Our Side” has too many electronic elements and a “beat” feel. It takes its time to reach to its chorus but when it does, it works effortlessly; the band seems to have done the opposite here and this is their “lead off” single I think, which sends kind of mixed feelings, when Erik sings “don’t leave now...”, as if the band is afraid of losing touch with its audience…
“Best of the Broken” is a simple rocker with constant clapping and again struggles to have its pros add up to outdo the cons; the bad being that it’s predictable and boring; the good that the chorus works even if marginally so.
“Eye of the Storm” is a ballad that turns into a power ballad and swirls around, recycling the styles; really working out because of Eric’s excellent delivery and exemplary use of range and proper dynamics. The only song in the album I didn’t have to think twice about liking, straightaway.
“Blind Leads the Blind” tries to steer the good ship H.E.A.T towards the states in the verses, sounding a bit like Hinder, but manages a good chorus, which redeems it, in my eyes.
“We Rule” is a more experimental tune, where Eric channels some Erik Martin in places, in a rather urban and modern ballad, with strings and chimes, a really interesting mix-up that just works.
“Do You Want It?” again has the same sort of playfulness that a song like “Mannequin Show” did, but the weird falsettos and ask response vocals are treading on ever thinning ice between genius and ridicule. Luckily for the band, they manage to stay afloat.
The closer is the title track “Into the Great Unknown”, a rather serious undertaking at seven plus minutes, more elaborate and “serious” than the band has ever sounded and largely moving towards the territory that modern day Europe seems to occupy… a melodic heavy and “serious” rock that the band is able to do almost as well as they do everything else, but I’m not entirely convinced, fits them the best.
This is unfortunately the band’s weakest album to date and while they haven’t nosedived like say The Poodles did after their third album, they seem to have trouble repeating their success without repeating themselves and when they try to brave the weather and look into the great unknown they just seem lost without a compass to guide them home. They’ll either find a brave new world or probably not outlast the journey, but that’s a story for another day… and they should be glad they have a nice catalog and amazing performances to rely on, while they weather this storm.