HARDLAND (Netherlands) – Hardland (2017)
Not to be confused with the American act of the same name, this HARDLAND is a Dutch band making their debut into the classic rock scene with this self-titled CD “Hardland“, released in the second half of 2017 by themselves.
All personnel are experinced musicians from the local scene having played on several bands before. The seeds of HARDLAND were planted in the ’80s, but the project fully materialised a couple years ago.
So it makes sense that HARDLAND’s sound it’s absolutely based in the glorious decade style, with an updated production.
However, what makes the album so appealing is the old-school, analog-like production, very well managed to obtain a balanced, classy dynamic range avoiding modern saturation.
Musically, this is guitar driven hard rock but not specifically based on groove, with the riffs at the service of harmonies resulting into some kind of a melodic hard / classic rock mix.
Additionally, there’s AOR-style keyboard touches to fill out the sound.
The pair of opening tracks are my favorites, being ‘Any Way That You Want It’ a catchy number with very well placed harmony / backing vocals and sweet keyboards, while ‘Hot Gypsy’ is a bouncy and pretty ‘Americanized’ rocker.
In ‘Life’s A Bitch’ there’s cool riffs, and midtempo ‘Until The Night Is Through’ adds some kind of classy ’80s atmospheres.
Speaking about atmospheres, on the instrumental ‘Interstellar Traveller’ HARDLAND creates a very interesting tune with the help of clever synths over the fine guitar work which gets full development halfway the song. There’s a mid-Eighties British feel that I liked a lot.
‘Depending On You’ rocks with harder twin guitar delivery and tougher vocals, ‘Dream Into Nightmare’ mix melody with muscle, while ‘The Only Answer’ is a meaty, not syruped at all ballad written in the ’80s but never recorded until now.
Press sheet described “Hardland” as hard rock meets AOR. There’s both in the mix, overall I would say ‘the harder side of the AOR’, timeless melodies shaped in a very melodic mould. As said, production is very good for an independent band.
Silently released with little promotion, “Hardland” is a really good record that slipped under our radar in 2017, but never it’s too late to discover this welcomed, solid Dutch act.
01. Any Way That You Want It
02. Hot Gypsy
03. Life’s a Bitch
04. Until the Night Is Through
05. Interstellar Traveller
06. Depending on You
07. The Only Answer
08. Under My Skin
09. Say It!
10. Dream into Nightmare
Paul Evers – vocals, guitars
Aielko Venema – vocals, guitars
Eric Gijsen – drums
Toine Vanderlinden – bass
Marco Kuiper – keyboards
BUY IT !