This month, I was treated with an amazing assortment of albums to review from the mighty Frontiers Music Srl! With the latest release from Heaven and Earth queued up and ready to go, my mission continues…
Heaven and Earth are back to present us their fifth album, the appropriately titled roman numeral “V”. There have been big changes in the Heaven and Earth camp since their 2017 outing, HARD TO KILL. Joining guitarist and founder Stuart Smith this go round are new keyboardist George Barabas, new vocalist Gianluca Petralia, and none other than veteran skin basher Simon Wright (from AC/DC and Dio). Only Bassist Lynn Sorensen remains from the previous album.
If you are unfamiliar with Heaven and Earth, I will easily sum it up for you: they are to Deep Purple and Rainbow what Kingdom Come was to Led Zeppelin. All tunes are centered around Stuart Smith’s Richie Blackmore-ish guitar style and the heavy-handed John Lord Hammond organ noodling of George Barabas. While this is certainly not a bad formula, it does tend to make the music somewhat monotonous. Don’t’ get me wrong. These gentlemen are immensely talented at what they do. But, if I want to hear Deep Purple, I will simply reach into my Deep Purple catalog to satisfy my craving. The songs are good, but there are no new trails being blazed here. As I stated, the tunes are constructed to showcase the guitars and organs. Both musicians shine on standout tracks like “Drive”, “Beautiful”, “Ship Of Fools”, “Flim Flam Man”, “One In A Million Men” and “Big Money Little Man”.
At the end of the day, if you have no problem with sound alike bands, then you will thoroughly enjoy V. If, like me, you are looking for something a little more original, you will like this latest offering, but probably not love it. The guitar and keyboard performances are worth checking out and are what elevates this to a respectable 3.50 rating.