Thursday, August 27, 2009


Imagine a dark stormy night during the winter, rain and wind and the temperature is on the cold side. Got the vision in your mind? Ok that would describe the mood and feeling of the latest Retroactive Records release by Hero. Entitled “Immortal” this album has a very haunting and ‘dark’ feel to it. The rich purple and red cover (courtesy of Liza Rock Designs) caught my eye because there are butterflies on it…. Haunting

It’s heavy and brooding, but has melodies that just find a way to crawl under your skin and get their hooks in deep. I’ve listened to this album over half a dozen times already and each spin it gets better. At first I was skeptical, because the tempo and structure of many of the songs seemed ‘samey’ to me. As I’ve listened and sifted through the layers a very fine album of brooding metal from Sweden has found its way to the surface.

‘Blood Red Roses’, ‘Immortal’, ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Funeral of Death’ have such a moody melodic feel they’re infectious. Definitely heavy, definitely catchy and you’ll be humming those chorus’ before the end. Listen to ‘R.I.P.’ and I can see the windmills moving to the haunting powerful rhythms and surging chorus.

Michael Hero proves he does indeed know how to write a very catchy melody. It’s also his baritone lead vocal that adds to the atmosphere of Hero. Michael and Bjorn Sundstrom show they’ve got the chops with crunching guitar tone and some very melodic playing. They’re complemented by Dannie Boy on drums and Mauritz Vetterud on bass. Johan Adler adds a melancholy keyboard that is the finishing touch on a very cool sound.

From the bands MySpace page they describe themselves this way.

“HERO means Heavy Songs that appeals to more than just “Metal Heads”. The recipe for HERO is: heavy groovy guitars, Thundering bass, bombastic drums, melodic baritone vocals and strong melodies.”

“Immortal” was mixed by Torbjorn Weinesjo long time guitarist from fellow Swedish headbangers Veni Domine. If you’re a fan of Veni Domine you’ll probably hear the similarities, but where Veni Domine is more progressive as it were, Hero is more commercial and more accessible.

The promotional material describes them along sides Veni Domine, HIM, Savior Machine, Lacuna Coil and but with a classic metal twist. I would agree. I might also add Undercover to that list, the 'Balance of Power' era specifically. I understand they played Cornerstone Festival in 2008, that must’ve been a powerful show.

They aren’t trying to be the fastest or the heaviest, but an artist that pulls you in and won’t let you go. Your first listen might prove unfruitful, but keep listening and soon you’ll be rewarded. Sometimes the albums that demand you listen more than once are the ones that last the longest.


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