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On disc: Hartmann

Balance - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


(Avenue Of Allies - 2012)

I first came across Oliver Hartmann while he fronted At Vance, but never really followed his solo career. Others might noticed his voice as a part of e.g. Avantasia and Aina or as a guest singer at countless albums.

Now Oliver Hartmann is presenting his new solo album which is called Balance. Let's see, if he found the right balance! Oliver and his mates kick off with All My Life, a kind of modern stadium rocker with a catchy hookline. It's followed by Like A River, a song with a different feel... A balladesque tune which would be perfect for an acoustic version... Again it's Oliver Hartmann's voice which gives the song the special something. Songs like You Are The One are solid tracks and the album offers a certain variety, but every song make me think of one or the other band / artist. Sure, it's impossible to come up with something completely new, but less references would be nice... Fool For You has a dash of 70's rock and reminds me slightly of Whitesnake... But also of some 80's glam rock stuff. With After The Love Is Gone you get a bluesy rocker which seems to be inspired by Whitesnake's Moody/Marsden era... Spiced up with a dash of AOR. The up-tempo rocker Save Me is a powerful rocker with a modern touch. Sounds like something rock radio in the US would play... The opening passage of Dance On The Wire is inspired by Sweet Home Alabama, but then the song becomes a balladesque Southern rocker. The last two tracks are ballads which give Oliver's voice even more space to shine. Perhaps they should consider some acoustic versions...

Why they choose to cover Shout I have no clue, but the metalized version of the Tears For Fears tune doesn't fit to the rest of the album and disturbs the flow. Anyway, hard rock and AOR fans should be pleased, Balance isn't an outstanding album, but above average!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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