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Healer - 'Heading For The Storm' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ca/eb/af/healer-heading-for-the-storm-16-1558643322.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 23, 2019    
 
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It's clichéd, it's "old hat" and it's all been done before – I can't pretend it hasn't – but man is it good!

Not in my wildest dreams did I connect the expansive, instrumental Prog of Long Distance Calling with the galloping, keyboard-infused Rock of the eighties and yet as I scanned through the names of those involved with this German retro-Rocking outfit, I discovered a certain Florian Füntmann, guitarist in not only Long Distance Calling but also in Healer. In fact, it was he and his guitar-mate Robert Kahr who first came up with the idea of this band, quickly enlisting drummer Christian Demter, bassist Jonas Hülsermann, singer Michael Scheel and keyboard player Christian "Tice" Landgraf (although the latter soon departed to pursue a career as a human geneticist!). Enter ex-Orden Ogan man Nils Weise to beef up the Healer sound and help them put together this debut album, the result being a sumptuous amalgam of seventies themes and eighties execution.

Imagine standing at the crossroads between Saxon, Magnum, Uriah Heep and Joe Lynn Turner-led Rainbow, and simply deciding to head in all directions at once. It could, in the wrong hands, result in a disjointed mishmash, but thankfully we're being cradled with extreme, expert care in this instance as Healer fully hit their stride.

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Scheel sounds like a perfectly enunciating Biff Byford, albeit with a loosely Classical edge, whereas Weise would appear to have broken into the Uriah Heep stronghold and scarpered with their Hammond B3 so he can abuse it until his heart's content. However, as you'd expect from a band formed by two guitarists, when 'Desert Star' brings the album to life so the pair combine quite magnificently with those other elements to quickly whisk you off to a time when Saxon were still a Classic Rock act rather than a Power Metal outfit. The album's title track adds a keyboard-led slice of Magnum-like-majesty and two songs in... I'm sold!

'What Lovers Do' has the temerity to bring a Grand Prix meets Uriah Heep romp to the mix, while the pomp and circumstance of 'Liars Day' will have you singing along from the off. On the other hand, I could also highlight the slapping smack of 'Healer', the resplendently regal 'Rolling Thunder' or the clarion call of 'Big Dreamers' and sing their praises too.

'Heading For The Storm' is clichéd, it's "old hat" and it's all been done before – I can't pretend it hasn't – but man is it good!

Steven Reid

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