It’s been quite a while since we last heard of Stuart Smith’s band HEAVEN & EARTH. Hard to believe that it is already twelve years since the band released their last album  “Windows to the World” in 2001. When HEAVEN & EARTH released their first album way back in 1998, it featured a cast of all-star Hard Rock musicians, including Joe Lynn Turner, Richie Sambora, Glenn Hughes, to name just a few. It was Hard Rock at its finest. Punchy driving guitar-riffs imbued with blues and melody. Top notch refined hard rock with strong hints at Blues and Melodic Rock.

Twelve years later, we hold the stunning new album “Dig” in our hands. While the musical recipe is not that different, it just shines more. The songs’ musical structure is tighter and more refined. The line up, consisting of Stuart Smith (guitar), Joe Retta (vocals), Chuck Wright (bass guitar), Richie Onori (drums), Arlan Schierbaum (keyboards) is more tight-knit and goes well together. One can tell that this is not a Stuart Smith solo project anymore. It feels much more like a band now, where Smith’s musical attitude and vision has become sort of a benchmark for the band’s collective work.

The opening track, “Victorious” is a fine example of how Classic Rock should sound today: a fine blend of groove and melody. The songs remind me of RAINBOW’s best moments, where middle-eastern scales intertwine with epic majestic sounds. A sort of “Gates of Babylon”, if you like.

“I Don’t Know What Love Is” is a great ballad, which, even after several listens, never gets boring and grows on the listener. It is a song that stands out on the new album, not least because of its soft melodies and refined guitar work.

“House of Blues”, on the other hand, is a stunning blues-inspired song boasting a soulful Hammond organ and guitar playing. “No Money, No Love”, “Man and Machine”, “Back in Anger”, “Rock & Roll Does”, “Good Times” are all ground shaking Rock ’n’ Roll songs. Another stand out tune, with its dark melodies, atmosphere and punchy Hard Rock sounds, is “Waiting For The End Of The World” - a 10-star track.

What is most striking about HEAVEN & EARTH’s new release is the perfect mix of Vintage Rock and modern sounds. While “Dig” is an album deeply rooted in the tradition of bands such as DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW, it never runs the risk of copying the great masters. HEAVEN & EARTH’s music originates in the band’s passion for that kind of sound, and is skillfully performed showing a deep respect for the traditions of the genre. Every single musician on the record performs brilliantly, and makes great songs shine. HEAVEN & EARTH’s “Dig” is performed with musical expertise and with finesse, and is highly recommended to all those who love the classic Hard Rock of the great masters with a modern twist.

4.0 of 5.0 points

Release Date: 23 April 2013
Label: Quarto Valley Records


Victorious   6:15
No Money, No Love   4:01
I Don’t know What Love Is   5:52
Man & Machine   4:07
House Of Blues   6:13
Back In Anger   4:55
Waiting For The End Of The World   5:00
Sexual Insanity   5:40
Rock & Roll Does   3:52
A Day Like Today   4:19
Good Times   3:48
Live As One   4:27