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Heartland: Into The Future
Heartland - Into The Future Album Art

Heartland: Into The Future

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR
4.5/5.0

Vocalist Chris Ousey is a bit of an enigmatic fellow. He seems to live in the shadows of the melodic rock world, only to appear when feels it's necessary to do so. The last we heard from was him was his solo album, 2016's Dream Machine. His "band" project Heartland, formed 30 plus years ago, has been missing in action for 14 years, since 2007's Mind Your Head. But now Ousey revives the iconic English rock band with a new cast of players, notably with Mike Slamer on guitar, keyboards, and co-producing. The result is Heartland's latest album, aptly titled, Into The Future.

Chris Ousey - Click For Larger Image

Chris Ousey

Much like previous Heartland albums, and certainly his latest solo album, Into The Future is a very guitar-forward melodic hard rock album with AOR accessibility. Across the album the songs are riff heavy, yet harmonious, thanks to twin guitar power. The rhythm section adds strength to the guitar presence with it's steady assertive presence. Surrounding these things, keyboards including some Hammond, add atmosphere and embellishment. Ousey, for his part, sounds strong and melodic, often soulful at times. Unlike his recent solo album, he's not overwhelmed or subdued by the guitar presence. This is most likely do to better production, mixing and mastering.

As for the songs, most are simply as described: straight up melodic hard rock, bit heavy yet filled with the AOR distinctions of melody, vocal harmony, and rock rhythm and groove. Count as some of the best Caught Up, Mouth To Mouth, Not Guilty, and When The Band Plays with the impressive drum line. A Foreign Land is a good example of how the song composition and production allows for Ousey voice to rise as the heavy riffs and rhythm section dial down. If there's something closer to an AOR anthem (or ballad) it arrives with A Living Thing.

All things considered, Into The Future finds Chris Ousey and his Heartland band in fine musical form, offering premium and satisfying guitar-forward melodic hard rock. It's Eighties deja vu all over again. Recommended.




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The Take Away

All things considered, Into The Future finds Chris Ousey and his Heartland band in fine musical form, offering premium and satisfying guitar-forward melodic hard rock. Recommended.

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