Saturday, June 2, 2012

HARTMANN - Balance (2012)

HARTMANN - Balance (2012)


Renowned German multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter & producer Oliver Hartmann marked his talent as lead vocalist of the Neo Classical Power Metal unit At Vance during the nineties.
Since then, a quick look at his CV will tell you that Oliver is a workaholic, having worked with international Rock acts like Avantasia, Hammerfall, Edguy, Soul Seller and many more.
In 2004 released the debut album "Out In The Cold" with his own band HARTMANN, a great Melodic Rock / AOR CD much praised by fans and critics.
Now, in 2012, Hartmann-the-band presents their fourth opus "Balance", a work full of feeling and charm.

Oliver Hartmann is sure paving his own roads and on this record he emphasizes more of a contemporary modern melodic rock style to subdue the listeners to catchy melodies and an overall good atmosphere on songs such as "All My Life" and "You Are The One".
One of the best tracks here come via the super catchy bass lead in "After The Love is Gone", which is a tight rock ballad with some cool keyboards in the mix, featuring an elegant melody stylistically similar to the late Paul Young.
Another excellent track follows right up next with "Save Me" which highlights Oliver's strong Coverdale-esque pipes with some fine guitar licks and drums to lead the way on this edgy melodic rocker.

"Dance On The Wire" nicks Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home...' riff and uses it to give the album a bit of a laid back acoustic break without affecting the groove.
Also a notable cut comes via the cover of the famous Tears For Fears song "Shout" which all the band members breath new light into the song and does it justice. Of all the remakes that have come out through the years of this classic tune, this is the best by far.
There is not a dud on "Balance", and even the lighter waving closer "The Best Is Yet To Come" has a grandiosity that is difficult not to admire.

"Balance" delivers an updated modern melodic rock approach with Oliver's strong vocals leading the way past a very healthy and well constructed batch of songs.
Hartmann keeps the listener entertained with catchy melodies and interesting lyrics, proving how much he has grown as a songwriter. Add to this the sharp production and mix of famous Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Edguy, Kamelot) and you have a nice final render.
If you enjoy well written and played Euro Melodic Rock, Hartmann does it extremely well on this album, really aptly titled, as balance in perfect equilibrium faster rockin' cuts with midtempo/slow tunes. There’s a bit of everything that Oliver has delivered on his previous solo albums here.

01 - All My Life
02 - Like A River
03 - You Are The One
04 - Fool For You
05 - After The Love Has Gone
06 - Save Me
07 - Fall From Grace
08 - From A Star
09 - Dance On The Wire
10 - Shout
11 - Time To Face The Truth
12 - The Best Is Yet To Come

Oliver Hartmann : vocals / guitars
Mario Reck : guitars
Armin Donderer : bass
Dario Ciccioni : drums
Additional musicians:
Jürgen Wüst : organ on “Fall From Grace”
Xaver Fischer : keyboards on “After The Love Is Gone”
Tiffany Kirkland : backing vocals



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