KARO – Heavy Birthday [digitally remastered +2]
We presented here many must-listen Melodic Rock / AOR from the ’80s in its remastered form, and today it’s time for a German band and their one and only LP, reissued with 2 bonus tracks. We’re talking about KARO‘s “Heavy Birthday”, and there’s two reasons to this feature. First; it’s a superb album, and second, the band just released a new album with unreleased recordings from the era.
Indeed, alongside this post of KARO “Heavy Birthday [digitally remastered +2 bonus]”, you’ll find ‘Heavy Birthday II’ (2017) and the just released 2018 ‘Heavy Birthday III’, both including never heard awesome songs.
KARO was founded by keyboardist Karo Ceh (aka Karo Straub) and drummer Ronnie Bosien from the ashes of the hard rock outfit Morgenrot. Both wanted a more commercial sound ruling the airwaves circa 1986.
They found a terrific vocalist in Lutz Salzwedel, who later changed his artistic name to Dan Lucas releasing two stupendous AOR albums (‘Canada’ and 2000′).
“Heavy Birthday” was released in 1988, and its title and artwork makes you think of a heavy metal product. Not at all.
This is pure second half of the ’80s Euro Melodic Hard Rock / AOR, with lots of keyboards of course, but not overwhelming giving room to the vocals to shine and complemented by powerful doses of guitar providing a solid backbone.
There is a lot of similarity to other outfits around about the same time: including CRAAFT, ROKO, FATE, MYDRA, and even early SHY.
There’s no weak tracks on this album, all catchy and driving. Opener and first single ‘Wanna Be Loved’ has all the necessary ingredients for a rich melodic rock offering, with a bouncy rhythm, synth flashes, top vocals and a catchy chorus. This reissue includes a newly recorded version specially done by the band for the occasion, plus an acoustic take.
Second track in ‘One Of A Kind’ has a kind of Shy-like feel Salzwedel / Lucas in a high pitch fashion, there’s an elegant midtempo in ‘Still Hate To Lose’, while ‘Sister Sister’ is a winner: synth / keyboard-driven AOR of the highest order.
‘Ball Of Fire’ is another favorite of mine with ‘that ’80s’ atmosphere and there’s loads of pumping bass and parping synth on ‘Call Of The Wild’, an anthemic track which breaks out the organ as well.
‘No Mans Land’ shows KARO’s hard rock origins with a punchy rhythm, as well as ‘Cold Shoulder’ combining racy guitar lines and high-flying synth parts. The album finishes up with the stomping ‘Nobody’s Fool’, where the band does something more poppy akin DOMINOE meets Canadian hi-tech AOR.
Regarded as a ‘cult classic’, I think KARO’s “Heavy Birthday [digitally remastered +2 bonus]” should be placed a step or two above. This is a terrific slice of classic ’80s AOR / Melodic Hard Rock in an European fashion, the kind of albums you really love if visiting this blog.
Take a look again above about how this album sound alike, and I forgot to mention BONFIRE as well as comparison. Awesome stuff.
In my humble opinion, A Must Have
01 – Wanna Be Loved
02 – One Of A Kind
03 – Still Hate To Loose
04 – Sister Sister
05 – Ball Of Fire
06 – Call Of The Wild
07 – No-Man’ s Land
08 – Out On The Line
09 – Could Shoulder
10 – Nobody’ s Fool
11 – Wanna Be Loved (New Version 2005)
12 – Wanna Be Loved (Acoustic Version)
Lutz Salzwedel (AKA Dan Lucas) – Lead and Backing Vocals
Karo Straub – Keyboards, Synths
Erich Holstein – Guitars
Dieter “Spyder” Seeburg – Bass
Ronald Bosien – Drums
BUY IT !