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On the radar: H.E.A.T.
There is a part of everyone – whether indie hipster or black-metal devotee – that cannot resist indulging in a bitching AOR riff.
Swedish rockers H.E.A.T. have decided that life is, frankly, too short not to do this all of the time. Formed in 2007 when two bands merged, the new group found a blueprint in the sound of local heroes Europe, alongside the likes of Toto and Journey, adding a harder edge.
"My first guitar hero was Slash," explains guitarist Eric Rivers. "I started playing guitar because I saw the Sweet Child O' Mine video. That guitar intro just got to me, it was almost religious – like, 'What is that sound?' From that moment, I wanted to play guitar."
Four albums later, Eric now mainly spends his days blasting out incredible melodic solos with the aid of a trusty Mexican Strat ("I haven't found a guitar that feels 'more right'") and an Avid/ Digidesign 11 Rack.
"You still miss, and want to have, the wind in your pants from playing an amp," he says. "But I'm no gear slut – as long as I feel good, I can play whatever."
Feeling good is the aim of the game. "We've all tried different genres," says Eric. "But there's something about playing melodic hard rock in front of an audience. I think it's the most fun music to play in front of the crowd – it's a party, you know!"
H.E.A.T.'s new album, Tearing Down The Walls, is out now.