It's so good to see so many classic hard rock bands coming out with fresh, original new material in recent years, and Heart certainly are at the forefront of that movement with their latest release Fanatic. Ann & Nancy Wilson, along with guitarist Ben Mink, drummer Ben Smith, and bassist Ric Markmann, have put together a solid collection of tunes here that exemplify all that Heart have always been about; energetic hard rock, folk, and catchy, melodic pop.
For many fans, the heavier material, complete with crunchy guitar riffs and Ann's powerful, soaring vocals, will be the main reason to invest in Fanatic, and there are plenty of rockers to go around here. Opening 1-2 punch of "Fanatic" and "Dear Old America" sees Nancy & Ben cranking out some chunky, almost Billy Gibbons styled hard rock & blues riffs, and Ann doesn't disappoint either with her still formidable vocal prowess. Both are instant, memorable hard rock tunes that hopefully will find a spot in the bands concert setlist. "Walkin' Good" is a catchy pop/folk tune with Nancy doing a duet with the popular singer Sarah McLachlin, and she shares lead vocals for the first time with Ann on the hook laden rocker "59 Crunch", a real groovy heavy rock number with some beefy riffs from Nancy & Ben. Elsewhere, look for more tasty hard rock pieces like "Skin and Bones" and "A Million Miles" (the latter having one of Ann's most potent vocal performances on the CD), and a mix of heavy rock with strings on the upbeat "Mashallah!". For the fans of Heart's folk leanings, you have the pleasant "Pennsylvania", "Rock Deep (Vancouver)", and "Corduroy Road", each one with gorgeous acoustic guitars and Ann's haunting vocals. As a bonus for anyone who shops at Best Buy, the CD has 3 exclusive bonus tracks, the hard rocking "Beautiful Broken", the majestic folk rock of "Two Silver Rings" (where the bands love for Led Zeppelin comes out), and the intoxicating ethnic folk of "Zingara", featuring some lovely vocals from Nancy.
A far cry from the MTV days of the '80s, Fanatic sees Heart going back to their roots and doing what they do best, so if you loved their '70s material, chances are you'll get a lot of mileage out of this gem.
2. Dear Old America
3. Walkin' Good (featuring Sarah McLachlan)
4. Skin And Bones
5. Million Miles
8. Rock Deep (Vancouver)
9. 59 Crunch
10. Corduroy Road
11. Beautiful Broken-Best Buy bonus track
12. Two Silver Rings-Best Buy bonus track
13. Zingara-Best Buy bonus track