Released: 2009, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Sweden’s House of Heavy pays more than a passing homage to the eighties metal and arena rock that influenced them as youngsters on the band’s self-titled debut. Strangely, the album is getting no push in the press whatsoever from Metal Blade Records who is releasing HOUSE OF HEAVY as a digital-only release. This is a real strange beast, too, sitting among a roster filled with death metal and metalcore (which might explain the hush-hush treatment) but for fans of classic hard rock/metal in a similar vein as Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Damn Yankees and Badlands—albeit with a modern flair—House of Heavy is definitely worth checking out.
Production-wise, this thing is an absolute monster. Layered with rich, multi-tracked guitars, a thunderous rhythm section and more driving grooves than should be legally allowed, the fourteen tracks on HOUSE OF HEAVY will stick in the listener’s head immediately. “Warpaint,” “”Broken” and “The Blues” are hook-filled slabs of melodic hard rock driven by power chord-fuelled choruses. In between his lush John Sykes-meets-Ray Gillen vocals, Mattias Wellhag spouts off big, bold riffs here that are sure to appeal to the air guitar enthusiasts. “Ride Shotgun” boasts a drum pattern that sounds close to Queens of The Stone Age’s “No One Knows” and the circus-like outro is a bit odd. Rather than going for an obvious choice, the band gets bonus points for covering Def Leppard’s “Billy’s Got A Gun” and butching it up for modern standards. Even without the “Mutt” Lange over-production and gazillion vocal layers, House of Heavy’s version still nails the essence of this all-but-forgotten PYROMANIA cut. In true retro fashion, “My Black Rose” is the requisite power ballad but at under two minutes, seems a bit underdeveloped and thrown in simply to fill space. The real gem is “Tomorrow May Never Come” featuring bluesy vocals, punchy drums and a nod to arena rock progressive keyboards, not unlike Europe.
Over here, this music will be a tough sell (another reason for online-only release, no doubt) but House of Heavy reportedly just signed a label deal in Japan where they will surely do well with their sound. Not essential but HOUSE OF HEAVY is a fun album chock full of what many loved (and others hated) about late eighties/early nineties hard rock.
KILLER KUTS: “Warpaint,” “Broken,” “Tomorrow May Never Come,” “The Blues,” “Billy’s Got A Gun”