GOTTHARD - Bang! (Review)

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Bang! is another album that suffers from being too long for its own good – especially with added bonus tracks in some editions, but it's a big step back in the right direction for the band and an album that carries the classic Gotthard sound more closely than Firebirth. This puts my interest in the band fully back into focus after losing it following the last album.
A classic is now expected next time lads! 

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Hard Rock
G Records
Monday, June 16, 2014


Gotthard overcame the tragic death of charismatic frontman Steve Lee by taking a couple of years off and recruiting Aussie import Nic Maeder as their new singer. Nic's job was an unenvious one, but he's handled it will class and style.
The band was at the top of their game when Steve died and their comeback album Firebirth carried massive expectations. It was however was pretty average to these ears and only featured a few really strong tunes. Some disagreed of course and loved the rawer, under produced style, but the overall fan reaction was tepid. The songs just weren't there.

Bang! is a much better Gotthard album in all respects. The production is much better – crisper and smoother and more commercial than Firebirth. This is a more traditional sounding Gotthard album and picks up where Steve Lee left off. The band could still use a little help on the choruses – but the songs here are far stronger than the last album – even if there are still maybe 2 or 3 fillers.

Bang! is a strong rocker to open the album. Initially I thought the chorus was simply daft, but as simple (and silly) as it is, it's catchy and has grown on me quite nicely over the weeks.
Get Up 'n' Move picks up the tempo even further. It's a frantic, organ drenched rocker with a hard edge riff and a thumping beat. I like it.
Feel What I Feel is another cracking Gotthard tune – an instant classic I think – with a memorable, commercial friendly, feel good chorus that you just can't help but sing along to.
I guess it is time for a ballad and C'est La Vie is just that. An acoustic driven piece, with a nice pleasant feel about it and a soft, raspy vocal from Nic. It has a very “French provincial” feel. It is a bit of a pace killer though, I might have waited another track or two to drop this in.
Jump the Gun is a groove heavy hard rocker with a darker tone. The chorus isn't a stand out, but the groove is what drives the track – that and the heavy guitar and strong vocals. Some nice organ in there too.
Spread Your Wings has a classic Deep Purple 70s rock vibe to it. Drenched in organ, the song has a definite style of its own, but it's a filler to these ears.
I Won't Look Down is another 70s influenced track, this time it has a Led Zeppelin feel to it. Sadly another filler as far as I'm concerned. It simply doesn't go anywhere.
My Belief is a much better track. A moody track again, but a more free flowing song and one that carries with it the feel of classic Gotthard. And while the chorus isn't massive, it does stand on its own, mainly due to the comforting familiarity in the style.
Time to break the tempo a little and the next ballad Maybe is a duet with unknown American Melody Tibbits, who has a very pleasant voice. Good song, if not a little strange to hear a female lead on a Gotthard record!
Red On a Sleeve is a fierce, hard rocking song with maximum impact. The tough exterior and a good fit for this part of the album, but not the best chorus ever.
What You is less intense as its predecessor, but rocks just as hard. I like this track a lot. Good chorus too.
Mr. Ticket Man is another uptempo rocker with an ok chorus and some prominent organ. A decent album track, but not a highlight.
Thank You is perhaps the most 'out of skin' Gotthard tune ever. This epic track runs 11 minutes in length and combines a full orchestral intro before launching into a heartfelt piano ballad that builds in intensity with the orchestral backing come back into it. The song continue on to a powerful guitar drive climax with orchestra in full flight. Marvelous stuff!