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Dig

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 23, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Taking up from where iconic bands like Deep Purple and Bad Company have left off, Heaven & Earth is on a mission to resurrect the sanctity of rock in its purest, most accessible form on their third studio album titled Dig. Guitarist Stuart Smith (Sweet), singer Joe Retta(Sweet), bassist Chuck Wright(Quiet Riot), drummer Richie Onori(Sweet) and keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum fuse elements of hard rock, blues and bits of classical with bravado and a razor-sharp focus.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 23, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Quarto Valley Records
  • ASIN: B00BNWWUJ8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,474 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Monologue
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There is no denying the Richie Blackmore influence when listening to the latest offering by Stuart Smith and his band of mates known as Heaven & Earth. If this was in fact Deep Purple or Rainbow, this release would be nestled perfectly between DP's Slaves & Masters and Rainbows' Stranger In Us All. That's not a bad place to be! As talented a guitarist as Stuart Smith is, and don't kid yourself this guy is a monster with a Stratocaster, the shinning star here is vocalist Joe Retta. He has a very unique voice, but as comparisons are necessary when doing reviews, one would not be out of place to suggest Paul Rogers with a hint of Doogie White. Joe comes straight from the band Sweet (or at least Steve Priest's version of Sweet) for whom he has fronted since 2008. In fact this CD has as much to do with Sweet as anything else since Stuart Smith and drummer Richie Onori are also alumni of Steve Priests' Sweet. Rounding out the band is multi-talented bassist Chuck Wright (Giuffria, Quiet Riot, House Of Lords) and keyboards extraordinaire Arlan Schierbaum (Joe Bonamassa, Richie Kotzen).

1st Impressions.
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Judging a book by it's cover is never a good idea, but in this case ... the cover is spectacular. It's the perfect marriage for this release. While I am not a fan of digipak packaging (I'm a jewel case kind of guy) I have to say the overall presentation here is just perfect. The record label spared no expense. The booklet has all the lyrics, beautiful photography throughout and is printed on a low luster high grade stock. Very classy. I imagine the vinyl release of this is a sight to behold.

The Music
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Opening notes swell from the speakers as mid-tempo rocker "Victorious" sets the pace for what's ahead.
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Format: Audio CD
Founded by ex-Sweet guitarist Stuart Smith, Heaven and Earth is a classic rock outfit from Los Angeles. Smith being an Englishmen was mentored by Ritchie Blackmore and it definitely shows. In fact it's apparent from practically the opening note of "Dig".

The music is all about producing that distinct 70's sound and the vocals of Joe Retta do just that, calling to mind the range and talent of Glenn Hughes and Paul Rogers. This is an album focused on the total band not highlighting one key performer. Focusing on an all equal presentation of instruments while providing the perfect framework for Retta to lay down his vocals.

The keyboards of Arlan Schierbaum, feature prominently in nearly every song, keeping pace with the lead guitar and making "Dig" innovative while familiar. The band is rounded out with bassist Chuck Wright and drummer Richie Onori, "Heaven and Earth has pulled together band members with talent, personality, and longevity."

All 12 cuts are winners....

Smith invited a few of his famous friends to appear on Dig including 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Howard Leese, guitar god Richie Sambora and David Paich of Toto fame.

"Man and Machine" starts out with guitar and drums working together like a fine engine firing up and taking off. Ritchie Sambora helps out here with his signature talk box and slide guitar.

"Victorious," "Sexual Insanity" and "Back in Anger" all have great rhythms that accent and add to the overall feel of the songs on the album.

`Victorious' is an interesting opener, starting with a mystical intro, it soon rocks out in a very Rainbow/Deep Purple fashion.
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Hard rock pairings such as Richie Blackmore & Jon Lord are few and far between. They exhibit prowess and passion. They played REAL rock & roll. I then discovered Stuart Smith through another Purple-ite, Glenn Hughes. A few years ago, Richie Kotzen introduced me to Arlan Schierbaum. When I saw that Stuart and Arlan were going to be together on this cd, I immediately thought of the chemistry between Blackmore & Lord. I followed the developments as it was recorded. Great musicians all around....this was going to be good. I pre-ordered this with overnight shipping (which cost more than the cd!) because I just had to hear it. I tend to dissect and then dissect again, each song as I listen.....so I WON'T do a song by song here but.....this is very well done.....from the compositions to the recording to the packaging....NO DISAPPOINTMENTS HERE! If you like real rock & roll....WITH solos....then THIS IS FOR YOU! Buy it!
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The band Heaven & Earth might be considered a "throwback" in musical terms - because the new CD "Dig" brings actual songs that are catchy while being heavy, great singing without heavy "pitch" processing and the ability to distinguish actual instruments (guitars and keys and drums and bass that sound exactly like they are supposed to). So for this listener - a fan of both classic rock and progressive rock - this band has produced a disc of very grown-up music that is fresh in it's writing but pays audio homage to the great mixing and production skills of last century's rock acts (think Queensryche with a touch of Deep Purple rock organ). Well worth adding it to your collection.
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