It's been some time since a Jaded Heart album crossed my desk. Seven years to be exact with 2009's Perfect Insanity. But the band has been busy. Two additional studio albums since, along with a CD/DVD Live In Cologne. Now they return with their 12th album, Guilty By Design.
Jaded Heart is one of those bands that isn't difficult to describe: mostly melodic heavy metal with a hard rock groove, and a touch of AOR sensibility. The combination of roaring riffs and leads from twin guitar harmony with a booming and thundering rhythm section easily puts the band in the center of classic heavy metal. Then they twist in some catchy melodies and refrains, with some toe-tapping groove. The best combination of both comes with songs like Rescue Me, Salvation, Watching You Die. And the greater expression in most every song comes with the guitar solos, undergirded by the rhythm section groove. Yet, for the larger part, even the whole, of the album, the die is cast more towards the former heavy metal. That is to say, this album starts heavy and stays heavy, even brisk in its pacing. If you dig deep enough into the Internet you can find Jaded Heart once described as an AOR hard rock band. Not anymore, at least not with this album. Nothing soft, no ballads, just charging melodic heavy metal.
So, you're wondering, what's the downside. Nothing really, if you like everything I just described or you're simply a Jaded Heart fan. My last thought was that, excepting the aforementioned songs, much of this album, inherently, runs together. Nothing really jumps out, grabs your ears by the lobes as it were, and sticks with you. That doesn't make it a "bad" album, just one inevitably predictable.
With Guilty By Design, Jaded Heart affirms and solidifies their chosen genre: melodic heavy metal with a hard rock groove, and a touch of AOR sensibility.