Renown musician/vocalist/songwriter/producer all in one Mr versatility Oliver Hartmann is back with his 4th studio album titled “Balance” and with this aptly titled effort he continues on the path of modern Melodic Rock ala his last record 3. For a bit of a refresher on Oliver, we have to go back to his glory days as the lead vocalist of the Neo Classical Power Metal unit At Vance. He marked his talent there but after deciding to move on his own he definitively didn’t lag too much behind in terms of momentum. His first official solo album titled “Out in the Cold” was a hit as it landed on many webzines top melodic rock record for 2005.
What was most surprising was Oliver’s more melodic vocal style which was a total contrast from his work in the metal genre but that wasn’t the only thing that jumped at you either. He’s solid credit for songwriting was evident and that has helped Hartmann pave his own way through his solo work, and on this new Hartmann this approach is no different.
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. A typical release for a label like the AOR/Melodic Rock heavy Avenue of Allies which picked up Hartmann on this release due out on the 1st of June. You add the production of famous Kamelot producer Sascha Paeth at Gate Studios to add a backbone strong production sound, and you have a nice final render.
Oliver Hartmann is sure paving his own roads and needs no help from anybody seems like, 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 cuts here come via the super catchy bass lead in “After The Love is Gone” which is a tight rock ballad with some cool keys to add to the atmosphere of the record, stylistically similar to the late Paul Young one of the best voices you probably need to hear but haven’t. Another excellent track follows right up next with “Save Me” which highlights Oli’s strong pipes with some strong guitar licks and drums to lead the way on this Hard Rock edge of a rocker.
The album does tone things down a tad with a rather monotonous chorus in “Fall From Grace” and the slower moody vibe of “From a Star”, not bad cuts but it kind of brings down the album back to a more pop rock sound. Even with small complaints Hartmann keeps the listener entertained with more interesting lyrics, proving how much he has grown as a songwriter. The last 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, hard to consider with all the remakes that have come out through the years of this classic tune and that list includes At Vance…..see below.
Is no secret that is hard to make it out as a solo artist although let’s keep in mind that this is a band not just all about Hartmann himself, but with his vocal talent at the forefront and an avenue to freely write his music, is safe to say he has done a damn good job of it. If you enjoy well written tunes, a more coordinated modern rock sound and remember the “balance” statement earlier? Well the songs here flow very well balanced with a mix of faster cuts with your typical pop/rock tunes and some faster up tempo stuff. There’s a bit of everything that Oliver has delivered on previous albums here.
01. All My Life 03:56
02. Like A River 04:07
03. You Are The One 03:53
04. Fool For You 04:07
05. After The Love Is Gone 05:28
06. Save Me 04:59
07. Fall From Grace 05:09
08. From A Star 04:54
09. Dance On The Wire 04:25
10. Shout (Tears For Fears Cover) 05:35
11. Time To Face The Truth 03:13
12. The Best Is Yet To Come 05:04
Oliver Hartmann : vocals, guitars
Mario Reck: guitars
Armin Donderer : bass
Dario Ciccioni : drums
Additional musicians :
JUrgen WUst : organ on “Fall From Grace”
Xaver Fischer : keyboards on “After The Love Is Gone”
Tiffany Kirkland: backing vocals on tracks 1,4,5,6,8,10,11,12
Hartmann – Balance (2012)
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