"The Black Heart Album" (Hansel & Gretel; 2015)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ureas is a collection of great musicians and "The Black Heart Album" is a collection of awesome music.

"The Black Heart Album" is a thrilling combination of power metal, progressive metal and cinematic atmosphere. It has clean vocals, it's got dirty vocals, It's got male vocals, it's got female vocals. It's got chugging guitars and a stunning variety of non-metal instruments. It's got soaring choruses and screaming leads. It's basically got a little of everything and blends it together in a way that is absolutely irresistible.

Listening to "The Black Heart Album," I am reminded of the explosively creative music of Mushroomhead, the way that band melds genres and styles and surprises you at every turn. Ureas doesn't sound like Mushroomhead (okay, maybe a little) but the style is definitely there, the art of surprising the audience by throwing in suddenly stabbing cues and audio-cinematic cut scenes that make the album bigger than life.

My favorite tracks are "The Seven Deadly Sins" for its amazing combination of styles and sounds and "Shut the Fuck Up" for its unapologetic ire. (Speaking of the fuck word, "The Black Heart Album" uses it liberally so, if that offends you, be forewarned).

Looking at the list of band members (see below) I realize I shouldn't be surprised at brilliance and variety of "The Black Heart Album." Regardless, this is easily one of my favorite albums of the year.

Ureas are: Mike LePond (Symphony X) - bass; Per Johansson (Third Eye) - vocals; Heidi Johansson - vocals; Reece Fullwood (Mask of Judas) - lead guitars; Jacob Hansen (Pyramaze) - guitars; Michael Pittman (Xerath) - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.ureas.dk.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2015 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Jan 2021 15:15:09 -0500 .