Heaven & Earth
2013, Quarto Valley Records
Heaven & Earth have been around for well over a decade but not consistently releasing music. The band is the brainchild of acclaimed guitarist Stuart Smith who received praise from Ritchie Blackmore. It was Blackmore’s encouragement that got Smith to move to L.A. from the U.K. and the rest is history as they say.
Melodic Rock is the best way to describe the music on DIG. It does have a slight Hard Rock edge in spots but overall it leans heavily toward the Rock side. As you would expect the release is guitar heavy with a lot of killer solo’s. Smith is no slouch when it comes to guitar playing. Once you listen to the album you will know exactly why he was praised by Blackmore.
It was the video for the debut single “No Money, No Love” that initially grabbed by attention. It has that Classic Deep Purple vibe to it (and I am a big Purple fan) which is very prominent, especially with the keyboards. It is one of the harder edged songs on the album and it really stands out amongst the rest. Another of the heavier tunes is “Man & Machine” which is probably the heaviest track on DIG. Yet again the Keyboard work is Jon Lord influenced in a major way. No complaints from me on that. Stuart has found himself one strong vocalist with Joe Retta. His vocal sound perfectly suits the music. Joe’s voice is fairly smooth sounding with just enough rasp to give it that little edge. There is also a Blues influence in places especially on the aptly-titled “House Of Blues”. The guitar and organ interaction here is nothing short of amazing. They way they play off one another adds a whole new dimension to the disc.
A fantastic release with some top rate musicians. Sadly many of the songs are not memorable. They are all excellent songs, they are just not memorable for the most part. It is an album that may take a spin or two to get into and appreciate but you will be glad you did.