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HEAVEN AND EARTH
WINDOWS TO THE WORLD

Frontiers Records FRCD 068
Produced by: Howard Leese

Released: JANUARY 15
Relatives: Rainbow, Purple, B. Rouge
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 96%

  1. Dogs Of War
  2. World's Apart
  3. If Only Love
  4. Jade
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Prisoner
  7. Away From Harm
  8. Through Your Eyes
  9. Windows To The World
  10. Politician
  11. Years Gone By
  12. Gone By Morning

Stuart Smith burst onto the scene a couple of years ago with a most outstanding debut album of solid blues based rock 'n' roll. The guy has lots of cool friends, most of who appeared on that album. The success of that release led to the pressure of a follow up, which after nearly 12 months of work is due to be released in January.
This is another great album by Stuart, doing just what I hoped it would - it takes the best aspects and personality of the debut and uses them to built the new album in a more consistent and better flowing form.
This album has it's own personality, musically and stylistically and is an album that I think that will gather as many fans as the debut did.
Once again Stuart has surrounded himself with some fine names, especially with the writers involved in the songwriting. The recording band is far more settled, with the same line up featured on all the album's tracks. That has led to a greater consistency in the musical style and flow of the album.
And that is the most noticeable thing about the new album - this is a true band record. For the record, the Heaven And Earth band are Stuart Smith, Kelly Keeling, Richie Onori & Arlen Schierbaum. Using the one singer and the same studio band always helps create a more consistent flow with any record.
The production, handled by Howard Leese, is not quite as sharp as the debut, this is a looser and more live feeling recording.
As for the sound, it has all the blues and organ drenched qualities of the debut, but Stuart has created a generally more hard rocking album this time around. Add the hard rocking Keeling as vocalist and the fate is sealed!
There are plenty of blues moments here, but there is definitely more rock than before.
Track By Track:
Dogs Of War is everything you might think and opening track might be. After a short intro, it's an in your face, uptempo'd, heavy rocker.
And to complete it, a lovely acoustic/electric solo that brings on an extended musical interlude.
The first big surprise of the album comes as early as track 2 - World's Apart, written with the assistance of the great Jamie Kyle. This is a pure AOR anthem and melodic bliss for anyone who reads this site. It's a uptempo acoustic driven anthem ballad. The hooks and chorus are simply sensational, surrounded by a subtle organ accompaniment.
And to be perfectly frank, this song contains my favorite Kelly Keeling vocal performance ever. I just love it.
If Only Love was co-written with the help of Jamie Kyle and Jack Ponti and continues the more AOR styled theme with a song that opens with the familiar 'old English' acoustic guitar sound that was so cool on the debut album.
A little more laid back in tempo than World's Apart, it has a happy go lucky feel to it, especially in the lifting chorus.
Jade is pure Deep Purple. Keeling does a killer Ian Gillan vocal on this track that could have come from just about any Deep Purple album. A good song for 70's blues rock fans.
Broken Arrow is slow, dark and a pure blues track. Keeling I think is more at home vocally on the rock tracks, but still does a good job on this smoldering blues track. It sounds a little like something Joe Lynn Turner would normally sing.
Prisoner sees another familiar name involved in the song writing. Richie Blackmore joins Keeling and Smith to write this hard rocking, uptempo anthem track that again sees Keeling on top of his game. Lots of guitar and lots of hard edged vocals and a even couple of subtle tempo changes.
Away From Harm features the two Kelly's (Hansen and Keeling) and Jay Schellen and Smith in the writing credits.
This track is a tougher and more aggressive rock track, that with the previous song and the opening track are the heaviest moments of the album.
Through Your Eyes is a beautiful blues based pop rock ballad that Joe Lynn Turner has helped co-write. The sound of the debut is again evident as the chorus rises to anthem proportions and another great melodic hook. Another great Keeling vocal.
Windows To The World is more or less, a good straight ahead rocker. Politician is similar, but employs more of that big Hammond organ that brings a more bluesy sound to the track.
Years Gone By is the official end to the album. This is a beautiful instrumental written by Howard Leese that sounds like something from the Titanic soundtrack, or that old medieval sound that Stuart and other artists of this ilk love.
Gone By Morning is a hidden track that follows on beautifully from the instrumental in that it is an old English style medieval acoustic jig. It's a good fun song that ends the album on a positive note. Keeling's vocal fit the track perfectly.
BOTTOM LINE: Basically, straight to the point, this is a great bluesy hard rock album. There is more here this time to please AOR fans and possibly more for hard rock fans with the inclusion as Kelly Keeling on vocals and some fine guitar work by Stu. His best to date in fact.
The vibe of this album is different over the debut, but the quality is all there. There will be some that favor this album over the debut, for it's more accessible and consistent sound.
I can't say wither way which one I prefer, they are both classy rock albums.
PRODUCTION: 92% SONGS: 96% VIBE: 98%ATTITUDE: 98%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of the debut, all blues & great melodic hard rock fans and Kelly Keeling fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Stuart Smith's Heaven & Earth . Windows To The World


31/07/06: Mikey Romp - pooty@boffnet.org
Rating: 65
Rubbish, all this hoopla and worship. Clearly overrated. Nothing memorable here. The guitar playing is, well, quite anemic. We all like the retro 60s and 70s sound, but these songs sound like they were written then and passed on until this release. Listen for free, but don't spend your green on this marginal effort.

09/05/01: Ardian Nurcahyo - nurcahyo@tf.itb.ac.id
Rating: 100
Go to mp3.com,
they have the entire album on MP3 format!
Unfortunately... no Japanese bonus track
It's awesome! I'll get the Japanese version soon!

28/03/01: Andreas - def.leppard@bigfoot.com
Rating: 60
Yet again, high hopes on an album due to melodicrock.com's high rating.
Usual your right, but lately I have to disagree with your ratings.
This I have to say has a too poor production to get as high as aver 90.
And it's not really an album that can keep the good songs all the way trough.
Good, but not more.

/Andreas
SWEDEN

19/02/01: Steve, Denmark - stephen.leon@newmail.dk
Rating: 20
I really can´t see what the fuss is about. Stu Smith is no guitar whizzkid and if I wanted to hear an album that sounded like 70´s Deep Purple then I´d stick on In Rock or Machine Head. If you like the sound of a Hammond organ this album is for you. In its favour, Keeling sings his heart out and there are no really bad songs here - but no great ones either.

02/02/01: Thomas F. Fiore - Hittmann98@aol.com
Rating: 99
This is my rating of the new Heaven & Earth CD, Windows To The World. Please see my review on this great CD. Make sure this CD becomes part of yuor collection.

Tommy (Hittmann) Fiore

01/02/01: Thomas F.Fiore - Hittmann98@aol.com
Rating: 0
Lets start off with the opening burner -

"Dogs of War"
This song is a mixture of Deep Purple's "Gypsy's Kiss" and Rainbow's "Spotlight Kid" with some excellent twists and turns throughout. Richie Onori keeps great time and his fills fit perfectly. Kelly rips through this song and shows why he can sing hard rock as well as anyone. A very Jon Lordish keyboard solo by Arlen Schierbaum. Kelly keeling plays synthesizer on this one. This is followed by a stunning solo by Stuart. A real great hard rock opener. This song shows how talented this band really is.

"World's Apart"
A very nice AOR song with a really good vibe and a great vocal by Kelly. This is a good single for radio and even video. Some nice power chords and nice hooks. Howard Leese plays harmony guitar in solo and strings, and the bass is handled by Chuck Wright.

"If Only Love"
A beautiful opening vocal by Kelly Kelling. A very well written song, with some very nice acoustic playing by Stuart. Richie Onori's drumming fits the song just right. This is another good choice for a single and a video.

"Jade"
A great opening hook by Stuart. A very nice tremolo trick by Stuart. Kelly shows he has a great voice on this one. This song has a really catchy chorus. Kelly's vocal is right on tune and right in the pocket. The more I listen to this song the more I like it. Arlen shows how a Hammond B-3 should sound. Then here comes Stuart with a short but excellent solo. Great tune. Richie Onori shows again how to keep great time on this one. Richie is really a very talented drummer.

"Broken Arrow"
This is such a soulful blues number. Kelly's vocal is stunning on this tune. His vocal is so emontional. This man can sing. Arlen does a tremendous job with the Hammond on this song. Stuart plays a beautiful blues solo and is a perfect fit. Kelly Keeling plays some good bass lines on this tune. An excellent ending solo by Arlen. Great TUNE!!!!!!

"Prisoner"
Written by Ritchie Blackmore and Stuart a while back. A very Deep Purplish/Rainbow opening riff. Good tones by Stuart on this one. Great opening fills by Richie Onori. A very Joe Lynn Turnerish opening vocal by Kelly but with much more power. This song could have easily been on Rainbow's Difficult To Cure CD. A very good AOR-FM song. Stuart plays a very Ritchie Blackmoreish solo on this one and it also plays great right behind the vocal. Nice job Stuart.

"Away From Harm"
This is a song that could have been in any era of hard rock music, 70's, 80's, or 90's, right up to now. A well written song and well arranged. There is a very good Hammond solo followed by a dark guitar solo by Stuart. This is also very much in the mold of Deep Purple's "Gypsy." An excellent vocal by Kelly. A good job on bass by Howard Leese. Some excellent double and triple tracking on Stuart's ending solo with some great Hammond work mixed in by Arlen.

"Through Your Eyes"
A very nice slow rocker with a very nice vibe throughout the whole song. A nice acoustic opening and a very clear and "right from the heart" vocal by Kelly. Tony Franklin adds his great brand of bass playing to the song. Howard Leese does a very nice job on strings. Another good single or video. Nice job on the drums by Richie Onori. Stuart's solo really fits the song well again played perfectly right behind the vocals.

"Windows To The World"
A very funky kind of song. I really dig the vocal on this one by Kelly. His vocal is in a growling voice. A bit of Glenn Hughes in certian parts. Some nice effect work on certain parts of the vocals. Good chorus on this tune. Good solo by Stuart. A real solid song. A couple of Ian Gillanish screams toward the end of the song. Arlen again plays a nasty Hammond on this one. Great tune.

"Politican"
This song is a mixture of Deep Purple/Cream with a touch of Zeppelin. A great driving song with some excellent riffs and hooks throughout the entire song. This was a song written about self-serving politicans. This song is one of my favorites on the CD. Stuart and Arlen work very well together on this tune. Kelly's vocal is excellent on this song from start to finish. Nice arangement on this one. Excellent solos by both Stu and Arlen.

"Years Gone By"
A Howard Leese written instrumental.

"Gone By Morning"
A nice Celtic-like tune. Pretty cool song. Nice vocal by Kelly.

Overall, the follow-up to the first Heaven & Earth CD was well worth the wait. I really enjoy handling Heaven & Earth's sound. This is one band that sooner or later will explode all over the music world. It's just a matter of time.

For everyone that contributed to the writing, playing, arranging, mixing, recording, and mastering of Windows To The World - Great Job!!!! This is an excellent band, all around.

Tommy (Hittmann)Fiore

01/02/01: Carol Emsell - cemsell@btinternet.com
Rating: 0
WINDOWS TO THE WORLD
HEAVEN AND EARTH
A Review by Carol Emsell

The album opens with the sound of a thunderstorm and some very atmospheric pipes, before it explodes into the first track – Dogs Of War. This is an extremely energetic track, great guitar riffs and an organ solo from Arlen combine with Kelly’s expressive vocals and Richie’s solid drumming to form a great rocker.

The next track –Worlds Apart was the first one to make an impact on me. A very melodic rock song with an upbeat feel. Listened to through headphones, Kelly could be singing only to me!. The guitar sound given to it by Stuart and Howard make this song very friendly and it would make a great single.

If Only Love is a song that Kelly brought along from his Baton Rouge days and is very melodic, and very sincerely sung. One of my favourites.

Jade is another older song, of Stuart’s this time. Re-vamped, this really rocks. More excellent work from Arlen answered by Stuart and it produces another great track.

Now the mood slows and we get Broken Arrow which is a really beautiful, bluesy ballad with wonderful lyrics. The band really sound “together” on this one and Stuart’s solo is a spine-tingler!!

Now for my absolute favourite (I think – it keeps changing!) Prisoner is a collaboration between Stuart, Kelly and Ritchie Blackmore; I love the beginning of this song, which develops into a rocker with a wonderful chorus. This is the one I can’t wait to see performed live!

Away From Harm – another excellent track with mystical lyrics. This is one resurrected from the days of the original Heaven and Earth band. A great track which grows on repeated hearings.

Through Your Eyes is another ballad, which is played and sung by all band members rather brilliantly. The choir on this track gives it a different feel too.

Windows To The World. I would say that this is my least favourite track on the album. Starting with the sound of a computer logging on to the Internet, the lyrics continue in the same vein. The track still rocks though!!

Another rocker follows, Politician has a very catchy chorus and is dedicated to corrupt politicians.

Now we know where the pipes and storm at the beginning of the album are leading! Years Gone By is an amazing, wonderfully atmospheric instrumental with the Irish Pipes echoed by superb guitar playing. This is definitely one of my favourites, no doubt about that!

Now a longish break until the “secret track” kicks in. Gone By Morning is a fantastic Irish-jig type of song about Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I. This is a really good-time sounding song with Irish musicians – sounds as though they had fun. I’m not really sure how any song about someone being beheaded can sound so upbeat, but IT WORKS!!!
This album is fantastic. I loved the first album but WINDOWS TO THE WORLD has a much more settled “band feeling” about it. Stuart plays some wonderful solos and riffs, Arlen is a wizard on the keyboard, Kelly has a brilliant voice which sounds good singing ballads, rock or blues and Richie provides a solid beat throughout the whole album.

I’m not sure that I could say which are my favourite tracks, some were instant favourites and others have grown on me. I don’t skip any of the tracks, just put the album on, play the whole thing then reach for the “repeat” button.

A mix of old songs, re-vamped, and new material written for the album. Rock, blues, ballads and Gaelic, what more could anyone want? This album definitely deserves to be a success. Stuart and his band have all worked incredibly hard and with the production assistance of Howard Leese the whole project has come together brilliantly.

I strongly recommend that WINDOWS TO THE WORLD be added to your rock-album collection at the first available opportunity.

31/01/01: Wendy Porter - WendyRachPorter@aol.com
Rating: 99
Hi!

I've been looking forward to writing my review of the bands new CD "Windows
To The World", and I only hope that I'll do it justice as it hasn't left my
CD player ever since it arrived!

Track 1: "Dogs Of War"
Begins with a short piece of soft pipe music which slowly unravels into good
old foot stomping classic rock!! Loved the keyboard and guitar skills and
especially lthe way this track changes tempo several times throughout.
Definitely a great track to open the CD with.

Track 2: "World's Apart"
A terrific song … definitely one of my favourites! Kelly's vocals really
shine throughout this track, and as mentioned in previous reviews, this is
definitely "chart quality" material. I caught myself singing along to this
in the bath the other evening, and the lyrics (co-written along with Jaime
Kyle) are the perfect accompaniment along with this splendid melodic track.
Loved it.

Track 3: "If Only Love"
Much like the previous track except with a slower feel, but again has a very
modern touch with great lyrics. Loved the acoustic guitar at the beginning.

Track 4: "Jade"
A rock track with some keyboard from Arlen. Wasn't too sure of this track on
the first listen, but after having listened to it through the hi-fi with the
volume cranked up high, it's changed my first opinion and made it another of
my favourites.

Track 5: "Broken Arrow!
Mmmm …. A very dark and mysterious blues track!! Loved it the moment I first
listened to it. Very spiritual and superbly sung by Kelly.

Track 6: "Prisoner"

An upbeat rock tune, co-written by Ritchie Blackmore, Stuart and Kelly.

Track 7: "Away From Harm

Another favourite of mine at the moment!

Track 8: "Through Your Eyes"

Begins with a mellow acoustic guitar and leads into a catchy rock/blues
chorus.

Track 9: "Windows To The World"

A track written and sung all about the internet, this song begins with the
sound of a modem logging onto the internet … then launches into good foot
tapping rock.

Track 10: "Politician"
Another rocking track with a good strong chorus.

Track 11: "Years Gone By"
A beautiful instrumental reminiscent of the "Titanic" soundtrack, another
favourite CD in my collection. Listen to "Years Gone By" and just let the
music take you away ... very atmospheric. Love how the electric guitar is
gradually "introduced" a third way into the track. Very beautifully produced
too … you'll love it!

Track 12: "Gone By Morning"
An Irish folk song … sounds like a good old fashioned pub sing-a-long until
you hear the lyrics! As it's the very last track on the album, I wonder if
it's the bands idea of a "topping out ceremony" after completing the album?!
A great song to end the album with!

My over all impression is one of a superb CD and a distinct move forward.
Because of all the "Guest" musician/singers on the previous CD, it was a test
for the band to see how they would stand alone on this one, and they haven't
disappointed! The band have worked extremely hard on this CD and it very
clearly shows through. A must have CD for any classic rock fan!

24/01/01: Noddy - nod@machinemen.com
Rating: 85
My initial reaction on hearing Windows to the World was that it was not as good as the first album, but after a couple of weeks I am more inclined to the opinion that it is a more solid offering than the debut but lacking the couple of real killer tunes such as "Heaven and Earth", "Don't keep me Waiting" and the superb version of Unruly Child's "Do You Ever Think Of Me".
This time around, songs like "Dogs of War", "Jade", "If Only Love" and my favourite track "Prisoner", all sufficiently warm the heart of Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow fans (myself included), there indeed lies the reason this album falls short of top drawer status - Kelly Keeling does a decent job on vocals but he ain't Joe Lynn Turner or for that matter Kelly Hansen. Stuart Smith wanted a more "band" feel to this record, and having only one singer this time around, he succeeds in that repect. However, I for one would have prefered the multi-vocalist format of the debut or even stretched the budget and had Turner or Hansen sing the whole thing. No disrespect to Kelly Keeling or his fans but the style of music pedalled by Heaven and Earth requires a great singer to make it work on the highest level. That said, I'm sure I will still be playing this at Christmas

23/01/01: Rockystar - rockystar@hastajuego.com
Rating: 70
la calidad de este disco no tiene nada que ver, con la ofrecida en el anterior, puede que la mezcla de diferentes artistas fuera la clave del exito de heaven and earth, en mi humilde opinion, la produccion de windows to the world, es lo que hace que el disco parezca mediocre, el trabajo de howard leese me ha parecido patetico, hacia muchicimo tiempo que no oia una produccion tan mala, decididamente horrible, asi a todo el disco merece la pena, ya pocas bandas se dedican a hacer un hard rock tan bueno, un saludo


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