Heart: Fanatic

Heavy Heart

From the opening guitar of the title track, Heart serves notice that they’re here to rock. Hard. After revisiting the band’s history with a box set, Strange Euphoria, and memoir, Kicking & Dreaming, the Wilson sisters seem to have gotten back in touch with their rock ‘n’ roll roots. The guitars serve up hearty power chords, the rhythm section (Rick Markmann on bass and Ben Smith on drums) is rock solid, and Ann Wilson’s voice can still rattle the farthest corner of an arena. What sets Heart apart from many other hard rock acts, and what’s always set them apart, is their mix of stadium-sized bombast and something more nuanced. Even with the band playing flat out and Ann Wilson singing at the top of her voice, there’s an emotional hook that reaches beyond sheer volume and power. The band’s able to bring the energy to more lightly-built songs like “Skin and Bones,” using tone rather than decibels to make their point. As on 2010’s Red Velvet Car, producer Ben Mink melds the band’s classic guitar rock with a few modern touches, leaving neither sounding out of place. Heart’s longtime fans, particularly those who favor the group’s self-written, hard-rocking sides of the ‘70s, will enjoy this album; so will anyone looking for a shot of rock ‘n’ roll. [©2012 Hyperbolium]

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