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Album Review: Heat - Labyrinth

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 7:40 PM


Heat - Labyrinth

Written by Antony Scholefield

 

Right now, German rockers Heat only have 2000-odd Facebook fans. To put that in perspective, Metallica have 1,500,000% more. On the basis of Heat's second album Labyrinth, however, they deserve to see their numbers rise sharply.


Stylistically, Heat follow the ratty guitar-driven approach that started with the Kinks and 'You Really Got Me' in 1964. Cooked up with Black Sabbath-esque stop-and-start arrangements, it all emerges as a nostalgic take on '70s garage rock.


Although it only clocks in at seven tracks, Labyrinth is full of punch. 'Barbarossa' sounds like Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak', but with a more out-there lyrical focus. 'Masquerade' is another straightforward rocker and features one helluva guitar break.


As the songs unfold, you can almost tick off Heat's influences when you hear them. Singer Patrick Fülling sounds like Ozzy Osbourne, just a bit more clipped, while drummer Marcus Töpfer sounds like Ozzy's friend Bill Ward. The title track is definitely a Thin Lizzy shout-out, while a lot of the riffs owe a debt to Deep Purple.


Multi-part epic 'The Golden Age' sounds very much like Purple's early prog-rock experiments. There's a fast stomping riff, a semi-acoustic section reminiscent of 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath', and strange exotic drums. It signs off after an impressive nine minutes.


Boogie-rock number 'Free World' is probably the top track on Labyrinth, with its effortlessly stomping riff and retro-style organ breaks. It's not ridiculously heavy, but it's got great momentum. Fülling even shouts: "You can't keep me from rolling!"


Actually, this rock and roll war-cry isn't typical for Heat. Their lyrics are often esoteric, strange prog-rock musings with images pulled from history and folktale. It's almost like Gabriel-era Genesis, but with a big hard-rock engine behind it.


'Loving Devotion' is another cracking track, with its opening riff stolen from AC/DC's 'Flick Of The Switch'. It soon drops to a moody bassline, then explodes out again with a terrific scream from Fülling. The tempo changes back and forth, but overall it's pure rock and roll.

 

For a second album, the focus and skill in Labyrinth are fantastic. Heat could still refine their lyrics further, and personally I'd like them to push away from the prog-rock epics, and embrace some good old crash-bang-wallop garage rock. Still, by any measure, they're damn good right now, and should only improve from here.


Categories: Album Reviews

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