The tsunami of backwards looking retro rocking bands continues to roll across Europe sweeping up all in its path and systematically destroying the last vestiges of nu-metal in its wake. The latest band to join the ranks is Heat from Germany. Featuring current and ex members of Samsara Blues Experiment, Hara-Kee-Rees, Grandloom, Assassinations, Meatbeans & Ecke Schönhauser this debut album is one of the first crop of releases on the very promising Electric Magic label.
Sharing some common ground with the likes of Graveyard, Horizont and Witchcraft, Heat crank their Orange amps to 10 and bust out some very credible, hard hitting bluesy, doomed out rock and roll with a sufficiently vintage pedigree. Opening track “Daymare” kicks off rolling along in suitably Sabbath fashion with vocalist Patrick Fulling pulling off a convincing, tortured Ozzy like wail. It’s clear from the outset that Heat don’t deal in snappy short numbers. They allow songs to flow and develop through several minutes swinging from up tempo, rock outs to darker, more introspective moments. The changes never seem forced and contrived and everything flows with a natural grace as if the band are writing intuitively through telepathic jam sessions.
Second track “Warhead”, far from sounding like Venom, snaps along in prime Sabbath meets Zep fashion before breaking down to a tasty 12 bar blues mid section ablaze with wailing guitars and more of Fulling’s soaring vocals. On “Hamelin” the band pull back on the tempo and deliver a simple yet crushing riff that grinds along on a meaty groove topped off by an impassioned vocal. Once again the Sabbath comparison is evident but that is no bad thing, particularly as Heat are no mere copyists and, in their twin guitar attack, succeed in creating textures and arrangements that keep the listener’s attention and interest. Sonically Heat also possess a slightly harder, more straight ahead, less progressive sound than many of their contemporaries that helps to give the band its own identity.
“Illusion” helps to cement the bands position as hard driving riff merchants as it pummels with a riff that almost smells of patchouli and 1973 with an easy groove and a tasty level of crotch swinging boogie that owes almost as much to Foghat as it does Sabbath. By contrast “Old Sparky” features a choppy riff and almost funky drumming before upping the ante with some tasty, straight ahead, four to the floor old time rock!!! This is certainly one of the more immediate and, dare I say it, classic sounding tracks on the album and a definite highlight as it builds in scope and intensity.
Finally the band bring the album to a close with the 15 plus minute epic “Ending Aging”. It’s clear that the band aren’t out to spunk their beans too quickly on such a lengthy track as it almost sidles into the listener’s conscience with nearly 3 minutes of sweet, laid back Dave Gilmour meets Hendrix blues lead and a lazy, easy going groove that gradually builds in strength as the track progresses. Here the band show less obvious reliance on riffs and a more natural, organic flow to the music letting one idea develop itself as the song progresses. It isn’t until the midway point that the band seek to change pace and up the boogie levels to a Sabbathian intensity with a real sense of aggression and menace that borders on Motorhead in its driving force. Don’t be intimidated by the length of this track as it features enough twists and turns along the way to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I will admit it is quite easy to dismiss Heat on first listen as yet another retro band plumbing the 70’s rock archive for their sound but that doesn’t pay full tribute to the sheer quality of the band’s song writing skills, excellent riffs and exciting, raw sound. Heat are more than able to match up to the likes of Witchcraft and Graveyard and in the self titled offering have produced an album that benefits from…nay demands repeated listens to allow it’s delights to unfurl and reveal its true strengths.
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Scribed by: Ollie Stygall