GOTTHARD – Silver [Deluxe Digipak +2] (2017)
“Silver” is the new album by Swiss hard rock institution GOTTHARD to be released tomorrow January 13th produced by Charlie Bauerfeind (Helloween) and founder / guitarist Leo Leoni.
25 years in the music business is a very long time and not every band formed in the early ’90s is still around these days. But Gotthard stood the test of time.
With “Silver” they celebrate their 25th anniversary – and it was a very moving quarter century.
Started as a Hard Rock band in a time where this kind of music was simply dead on radio, Gotthard quickly became one of the top acts of Switzerland with various number one records in their home country.
In the late 90’s they changed their musical direction from Hard Rock to more radio-friendly Soft Rock, just to hit everyone in the face in 2005 with a newborn, fresh heaviness on their outstanding record “Lipservice” (one of my all-time favorites).
But all this success was overshadowed by the sudden death of frontman Steve Lee, who died in an accident back in 2010 – a tragedy, that shocked the whole rock community.
With the death of this outstanding singer an era ended, but the story of this band wasn’t over. A new chapter was written in 2012 with the new singer Nic Maeder and like a phoenix from the ashes, Gotthard raised once more when nobody believed this band could still exist after their big loss.
No, these guys have proven that music is their passion, no matter what circumstances will come around – and this has to be appreciated by everyone. It is not self-evident that they are still around and I think that’s the reason why this band has such a loyal fanbase – the “G.-Family”.
The new record “Silver” continues with the classic hard rock feel of the previous; a good balance between heavy riffs and catchy choruses.
“Silver River”, the opener, kicks it off. The song features great classic rock that comes with good hooks and ‘a 70s approach that is framed in a contemporary production. “Electrified” follows and strengthens the earlier said. The track has a cool groove and belongs to the highlights on the album.
“Stay With Me”, the first single, starts slow and easy. It feels like the listener reached the first ballad, but the tune builds up to a midpace melodic rock song with a well-done interaction between loud and soft. When Gotthard get it in this classic songwriting, they’re indomitable.
“Beautiful” rounds off a good overview of what can be expected from “Silver”. The song hits more the mainstream with catchy melodies and a perfect sound – just made for some radio-airplay.
That Gotthard can write good ballads isn’t something new. “Not Fooling Anyone” is the name of one of the acoustic tracks on this longplayer. Even though I have to admit that I prefer the rock songs I also have to say that this ballad is loaded with a lot of emotional depth which makes it to a better one.
A tune that’s different is “Miss Me”. Actually it’s a pretty interesting one, reminding me partly of Whitesnake. It starts slow and grooving and I was waiting for the moment when it switches into a loud rocker, something that didn’t happen. It feels a bit like driving a car with the hand-break on.
It doesn’t matter that much since “Tequila Symphony No.5” unveils again the rocking roots of the five-piece band.
Another song that belongs to this category is the thumping “My Oh My”. It’s one of the hardest tracks on the album and rocks like Hell. Closer “Blame on Me” it’s another awesome hard rocker – an energetic ending of an excellent album.
The last few albums have included occasional tracks that attempted to be un-naturally heavy for Gotthard, as if to prove the band can still compete with other heavier bands in the current musical climes.
Thankfully “Silver” avoids this trend, being a pretty straightforward Hard Rock album featuring the regular blend of punchy rockers and svelte ballads.
Gotthard boils it down to the essence which is very well-crafted melodic hard rock built on classic foundations of the genre, all served with a modern production and an awesome clear, crisp sound.
01 – Silver River
02 – Electrified
03 – Stay With Me
04 – Beautiful
05 – Everything Inside
06 – Reason for This
07 – Not fooling Anyone
08 – Miss Me
09 – Tequila Symphony No.5
10 – Why
11 – Only Love is Real
12 – My oh My
13 – Blame on Me
14 – Walk On
15 – Customized Lovin’
Leo Leoni (guitar)
Freddy Scherer (guitar)
Marc Lynn (bass)
Hena Habegger (drums)
Nic Maeder (vocals)