|Gotthard Lip Service||Nuclear Blast|
In an interesting move, Swiss rockers Gotthard signed with Nuclear Blast – an almost pure metal label – and proclaimed a move to a heavier direction.
Line-up changes, management and record label moves all conspired to put the heat on the band to deliver a great album, otherwise it could prove to be the last of their long, illustrious career.|
So the result? Well, the guys didn't really change their style to a heavier sound, but what they have done is returned to the hard rocking approach held on the first few albums, which should prove to be a fan pleasing move.
And changes in personnel aside, this sounds like a classic Gotthard album – no more, no less. The songwriting remains at the high standard set over previous releases and the familiarity in the usual raspy vocals will instantly put fans at ease.
What is pleasing is the tempo of the record. The first three tracks simply rock. Vocalist Steve Lee is in fine form, again sounding like a cross between Michael Bormann and Cinderella's Tom Keifer.
All We Are is a steaming anthem to kick off the album, Dream On is commercial rock at its best and the single Lift U Up has all the ingredients of a classic hands- in-the-air pop/metal anthem.
Bon Jovi would do well to take note of how these guys have taken the formula for commercial hard rock from them and improved on it, while the former struggle to reclaim their anthemic roots.
Of course all Gotthard albums must contain ballads and Everything I Want is a typical story of love lost and won, set to be sung to an audience of lighter holding fans in the months ahead.
Thankfully the tempo of the album isn't killed by a switch to mid-tempo tracks or more ballads. Cupid Arrow gets things cranked again - in that commercial friendly manner.
I Wonder is a little darker and tougher and changes the pace nicely, especially with a very melodic chorus. I've Seen An Angel Cry is the next ballad and is well positioned within the album.
Stay For The Night sounds like classic Storm with Kevin Chalfant, but with the added thump of a heavier rhythm section - a great uptempo pop-rocker.
Anytime Anywhere is yet another catchy and classy rocker with a gritty and dramatic feel. Another couple of uptempo rockers follow, making this one of the band's rockiest affairs. This is where things should have been called to a halt.
A great album to this point, it now continues on two tracks to many. The addition of Nothing Left At All and And Then Goodbye is a detriment to the album as a whole. These two ballads (the last solely acoustic) ensure that the album ends on a slow note. Better would it have been to re-position Nothing Left At All and drop And Then Goodbye completely for a tight 3 ballad 50 minute rock album.
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