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Jaded Heart - 'Guilty By Design' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 16, 2016    
 
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Solid, competent, enjoyable Metal for those who love a good head-bang and a bit of a tune.

'Guilty By Design' is the twelfth album from a band who've been called a "German Hard Rock institution". In fact, since the recruitment of singer Johan Fahlberg and guitarist Peter Östros in 2005 and 2006 respectively, it's more accurate to call Jaded Heart a German/Swedish band. With the departure of drummer Axel Kruse, who was replaced by Bodo Stricker (ex-Callejon), and the recruitment of live guitarist Masahiro Eto, Jaded Heart have come through a period of change that the band believes has left them "stronger than ever". Michael Müller continues on bass.

'Guilty...' features twelve tracks with a running time of just over fifty-five minutes (the digi-pak runs to just over sixty-four and contains a couple of bonus tracks; 'My Farewell' and 'My Own Way Down'). "From head to toe," says the band's press release, "this album is a Melodic Metal masterpiece full of energy, emotion and attitude!" It's a claim worth exploring.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Certainly, there's energy, as the band fair romp through the goodies on offer, with up-tempo Rockers aplenty ('Godforsaken', 'So Help Me God', 'Torn And Scarred'), striking riffs ('Watching You Die', 'Bullying Me') and fluid and tasteful soloing ('No Reason', 'Seven Gates Of Hell'). There's attitude of sorts too, exemplified by the recognisable Metal themes and imagery of song titles and lyrics, the weight and power of thunderous opener 'No Reason', and epic sounding tracks like 'Salvation' ("the band's heaviest song to date") and 'This Is The End'. Emotion comes not just with the power, but with melodic hooks (check out, for example, 'Remembering', 'Godforsaken' and 'Salvation') that harness it and give it more tangible significance.

Is it a "masterpiece", though? The term is commonly overused, and, in truth, it is overused here. 'Guilty By Design' is solid, competent, enjoyable Metal for those who love a good head-bang and a bit of a tune. To go further, however, would be to stretch the point. It is good driving stuff – but it is best experienced with expectations set at decent levels.

Michael Anthony

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