Here is the second album from Swedish melodic rockers Heartwind – it’s a different lineup with two new lead vocalists, a changed sound making for an engaging listen.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 347
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Nina Soderquist – lead vocals * Stefan Nykvist – lead vocals * Goran Engvall – guitars, bass, backing vocals, additional keyboards * Mikael Rosengren – keyboards * Peter Svensson – drums
Additional Musicians: Mike Laver, Eirikur Hauksson, Erik Martensson, Mats Leven
TRACK LISTING: 01 Stranger In The Night * 02 Line Of Fire * 03 Amanda * 04 Angels Cry Again * 05 One Love * 06 I’m Alive * 07 Trial * 08 One Of Us Is Crying * 09 Catcher In The Rye * 10 Searching Is Over Now
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Heartwind were the Swedish newcomers we reviewed back in 2018 when they were signed to AOR Heaven. That debut album called ‘Higher And Higher’ received a pretty healthy racing from Glory Daze, an 9/10 (click the tag below). We compared them to German outfit Zeno which always looks good on any bands CV.
In the two years since, Heartwind have lost three members but gained two others with guitarist Goran Engvall adding bass duties to his list. The two newbies to the band are the lead singers Nina Soderquist and Stefan Nyqvist. The female/male vocal will add some interest. Heartwind has now signed to British label Escape Music, and let’s hope this album is a vast improvement on the last two releases from that label which were appalling, to say the least. OK, let’s take a listen.
Upon first engagement, I am reminded of many Swedish acts (you could have a field day with this one), plus there’s not really much trace of that Zeno influence from the debut, and that’s due to the inclusion of Nina and Stefan. Both singers add considerable depth and power to this album.
‘Stranger In The Night’ demonstrates the new sound with this revamped lineup, particularly from a vocal perspective. Impressive start. ‘Line Of Fire’ is carried by Nina’s powerful vocal. The grinding delivery kinda reminds me of GD favourites Thundermother but with more melodic firepower and finesse.
‘Amanda’ displays rays of bright sunshine at every angle. Stefan sings lead on this one, and it’s topped off by a glorious chorus and a killer solo. Wow. The ballad ‘Angels Cry Again’ is exquisite stuff. Without doubt one of the better ballads I’ve heard this year, and for this writer that’s saying something..lol
Trademark AOR synths precedes ‘One Love’, the track is soon propelled by a magna-rail delivery of guitars. This is like Michael Palace but with female lead vocals. The guitar solo is pretty hot too. ‘I’m Alive’ is more of a modern rock outing with a tougher shell. Nina handles this one, a track I enjoyed due to the power on display.
‘Trial’ is that song when someone stands guilty of love. Haven’t we heard that a billion times in song lyrics over the decades? ‘One Of Us Is Crying’ is the obligatory pure ballad that tugs at the heartstrings, and with two singers of this class, it’s easy to carry on the wind.
Stefan ensures that ‘Catcher In The Rye’ is shunted along at a good clip, this one reminding me of Creye, same upbeat tempo but less of the dominant keyboard. Thankfully the closer ‘Searching Is Over Now’ is not a ballad, even if the song-title might suggest otherwise. It’s a track that never quite stands still, with different passages amid time changes. Stefan sounds a bit like Lee Small (Lionheart, Signal Red) on this one.
Yes, after slagging the last two/recent Escape Music releases, sanity has returned and the balance of melodic equilibrium has been restored. This is an impressive album, and I think this could even surpass the debut, but I realise that they are in scope, two completely different albums.
As for the two new lead singers, what a coup to land both of them. Excellent additions. Whatever your music consumption of choice (whether through streaming services or buying the CD), I think you might consider this album to be a keeper for the year 2020. Go to it.
One Of Us Is Crying