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H.E.A.T
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  • Kurt Cobain and the gang tried to nail shut the hair metal coffin, but the style never really died, it just faded from public consciousness. You can't even say it went underground, because H.E.A.T charted in the Swedish Top Ten, and that is not very underground. This record is one unabashed retro trip, but it restores the sleazy glory of `80s hard rock with such skill and devotion that it's hard to fault the band for wallowing in kitsch. You may try, but you'll probably still be tapping along with the record anyway. The music's got it all -- the bluesy licks of Whitesnake, the gang choruses of Def Leppard, the shredding guitar solos (mercifully kept short and to the point), a horny but romantic lead singer, and even this big drumbeat that you can't find on any other record released after 1991. Some synths are allowed in, too, because, if Van Halen did it, why can't H.E.A.T? A couple of power ballads enliven the soundscape, but they still make a heavy emphasis on "power," which is fine, because the music on the record is well arranged and well played, despite its straightforwardness: these guys know their way around their instruments. They also don't care for the thin line between historical re-creation and derivativeness, but that's a trifling matter, because H.E.A.T aren't even trying to play anything new -- they just want to re-create that "cruising the town at night" mood only found in David Coverdale promo videos. For the nostalgic, as well as fans of the style, this album is a godsend; for everyone else, the need to obtain it is questionable, but depends on the attitude to classic hair metal -- and to good hooks in general. ~ Alexey Eremenko
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