BAD HABIT – Hear-Say

BAD HABIT - Hear-Say


Frontiers Records
Release date: March 10, 2005

User Review
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Things have been awfully quiet in the Bad Habit camp for well over half a decade. Their last full album, Adult Orientation, was released way back in 1998, and since then, not so much as a squeak. You may have been fooled into thinking that Bad Habit had simply called it a day and headed off into the bargain bin corner/over priced collectors section (delete whichever is inapplicable!!!) and joined the land of pathetic day jobs and 9 to 5ers like the rest of (un)civilized humanity.

Formed back in 1986 and built around a foundation of AOR/Melodic Rock espoused by the likes of Foreigner, Toto, and Boston, Bad Habit have released a total of five albums with the debut, After Hours, becoming a particular favorite amongst collectors of the genre.

Far from being idle, Bad Habit have reconvened with vocalist Bax Fehling, Hal Marabel on guitars/keyboards, Sven Cirnski (lead guitar), Patrik Sodergren (bass), and Jaime Salazar on drums, with the aim of rekindling the creative spark, and Hear-Say is the result.

Matters commence with bubbling, swirling synths before the main riff enters the fray and then Bad Habit are soon well into “To Love You,” a song characterised by a silky smooth verse and a killer multi-layered vocal harmony chorus. This is indeed an impressive start, producing the sort of thing AOR aficionados go wild when hearing.

“I Swear” continues along the same lines, with a passion-soaked vocal performance from Fehling, topped off by some simple, yet atmospheric, keyboards.

The pace drops with the more laid back “All That I Want,” which on first listen strongly resembles the old Climie Fisher chestnut, “Love Changes Everything,” but by the time the ultra catchy chorus winds itself into your head, it has Bad Habit stamped right through it.

So far so good then? Well, not quite. Although all the right ingredients are here from memorable hooks, quality vocals and fine harmonies as well as some good songs, there is something that rankles the longer you listen to this album. The album is very beat heavy, which may not sound bad to some. Unfortunately, there is a very 80s electronic drum type sound pervading through the whole album. If a drummer was not mentioned in the credits, you’d swear there is a drum machine there. At times, the bass and “electronic” drums overwhelm what is basically a pretty decent song. Listen to the opening bars of “Reason” for example, for that synthetic rhythm sound … a good song and great vocals by Fehling, swamped by the rhythm section.

“Alive” is a great head down AOR rocker with a killer chorus but again the drums and bass mar a potentially great song. Even a screamer of a solo from Cirnski can’t really divert attention from the underlying issues with Hear-Say.

The rest of the album follows a similar pattern of good songs tainted by the rhythm section. It’s not that they are performing bad, because they are not, it’s that the sound and style of playing just doesn’t fit in with the songs.

If Bad Habit could resolve these issues, they would have an excellent album on their hands, but as it stands at the moment, they are just too much of a distraction to be able to endorse Hear-Say.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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