Heartwind were formed in 2017 by keyboard player Mikael Rosengren and guitar player Goran Engvall with the aim of writing and delivering a true melodic rock album with a fresh and updated sound. They released their debut, ‘Higher and Higher’, in 2018 and now they are back with their second, for which they signed to Escape Music in the UK. The line-up for this album comprises Rosengren (keyboards), Engvall (guitars, bass, backing vocals, additional keyboards), drummer Peter “Trumpeter” Svensson and lead singers Nina Soderquist and Stefan Nykvist. There are also guest appearances from Mike Lavér (Dynazty), Eirikur Hauksson (Artch), Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, WET) and Mats Leven (Malmsteen) while it was produced, mixed, and mastered by Fredrik Folkare (Eclipse, Unleashed).
Escape Music have built an amazing reputation over the last 30 years of only releasing outstanding melodic rock albums, and here is another case in point, with an album which is a delight from start to finish. Using both a male and female lead singer allows the band to move in different directions, and while there are few songs where they really duet, the outstanding “Catcher In The Rye” shows just how they can support each other when the time is right. Musically the band covers all the bases of melodic hard rock from power ballads through to belters, yet there is always an edge within what they are doing which makes this stand out from the crowd. There are times when the guitars are in full flight, others where it is slowed down, but always there is the knowledge that here is a band who are producing exciting melodic rock which captures the imagination and providing a platform for two great singers.
Vibrant, fresh, and powerful, this feels more grounded and real than many other melodic releases, with just that hint of blues at time which bring up back to reality. Classic, yet brought up to date, this is an exciting album indeed.
8/10 Kev Rowland