Heartland – Move On [2005]

Martian Marathoner

For those unfamiliar with HEARTLAND, this UK band formed by ex VIRGINIA WOLF vocalist Chris Ousey debuted in 1991 with their self titled AOR classic. By the 3rd disc, monster guitarist / producer Steve Morris (EXPORT,SHADOWMAN) joins the band and since then they have released 8 albums together.

HEARTLAND has never really made a bad album but “Move On” is their best in my opinion on par with the debut. While the “ST” was a pure AOR – rock gem, this one is a perfect blend of furious melodic rock with classic AOR. Ousey / Morris have written the best pack of songs since they’re working as a team, guitars are sharp and big, production is tougher and tighter than ever, and the mix, done by Tommy Hansen (SKAGARACK, PRETTY MAIDS) in Denmark, is awesome.

In the japanese release tracklist is different, and I think the album works better. “City Of Lights” starts with a rippin’ guitar, and then big drums and powerful vocals. The song has a terrific chorus with huge backing vocals. This is a high point on this recording, vocals are layered more than ever before in any Heartland album, the band took a special care into this department hiring a specialized vocal producer (Anders Rydhom) to this matter. “Too Sad To Cry” is a high quality rockin’ AOR and “Hell Or High Water” a moody midtempo with acoustic guitars, both in the vein the band’s earlier albums.

Rocking hard again, “Hard Hearted Man” features a killer axe work, and Chris Ousey sounding like Mr. Big’s Eric Martin here. Another monster chorus. Now again a beautiful uptempo AOR : “Where Do We Go From Here”, a keyboard dominated track in the true Heartland tradition, reminiscent of VIRGINIA WOLF albums or even JOURNEY. “Getting Ready” is another highlight, classy british AOR sound, reminds me the bands CHANGE OF HEART and GRAND ILLUSION (vocalist from the latter, Peter Sundell, did backing vocals here). “How Was I To Know” is a true AOR power ballad, Ousey shines here.
Instrumental “Redemption” may sound out of place, but it’s a nice break, and you can note Morris’ diversity playing this melody. He’s really, really good with the 6 strings. “Remember Me?” has tons of energy and a big wall of guitars.

As said, the overall sound is brillant, crisp, huge, and the band delivers some memorable choruses and enough hooks to keep you rocking. One (if not the) best album of 2005 in this genre. Recommended!!!

Band Members
Chris Ousey – Vocals
Steve Morris – Guitar, keyboards
Mathias Gregersen – Bass
Rasmus Duedahl- Drums

Additional Musicians
Bjarne T. Holm – Drums on “Getting Ready”
Peter Sundell, Per Svensson – Backing vocals

Tracks
01. Hard Hearted Man (4:13)
02. City Of Lights (5:14)
03. Take Me Alive (4:01)
04. How Was I To Know (5:29)
05. I’m Getting Ready (6:02)
06. Hell Or High Water (4:54)
07. Too Sad To Cry (5:05)
08. Remember Me (4:19)
09. Redemption (3:25)
10. Where Do We Go From Here (5:01)
11. One Fine Day (4:40)
12. Rotate (4:43)

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