HEARTLAND Move On Escape Music (2005)
Amazingly this release marks the band’s ninth album and the first since
2002’s ‘Communication Down’, which I was not a big fan of. Since the last
release guitarist/producer Steve Morris has been involved in last year’s
excellent album by The Ladder, who featured the vocal talents of former FM
vocalist Steve Overland. Back to now and this album rocks out big time, with
the band going for a more straight-ahead hard rock approach.
Tracks like ‘Hard Hearted Man’ and ‘Take Me Alive’ see the guitars turned up to the max
and vocalist Chris Ousey (ex-Virginia Wolf) putting in a big vocal delivery.
In fact you have to wait for the end of the album for some mellower tracks
like the instrumental ‘Redemption’, a track that allows Steve Morris to
shine on guitar. ‘One Fine Day’ is a top-notch ballad whilst ‘Where Do we Go
From Here?’ is what good AOR is all about - strong melodic vocals, classy
guitar, memorable tunes and a healthy dose of keyboards.
Production wise it is crystal clear and as mentioned earlier the guitars are high in the mix
but not so much as to drown out the vocals.
Heartland have produced a gem here, managing to harden their sound but
still keep those moments of melodic brilliance that are the band’s forte.
Review by Jason Ritchie