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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Hartmann - 2005 Out In The Cold
Hartmann - 2005 Out In The Cold

ARTIST: Hartmann
ALBUM: Out In The Cold
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2005


LINEUP: Oliver Hartmann - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Bodo Schopf - drums * Armin Dondener - bass * Jurgen Wust - keyboards * Ina Morgan - background vocals * Miro Rondenberg - string arrangements

TRACK LISTING: 01 Alive Again * 02 Out In The Cold * 03 Brazen * 04 The Same Again * 05 I Will Carry On * 06 What If I * 07 How Long * 08 The Journey * 09 Who Do You Think That You Are * 10 Listen To Your Heart * 11 Can You Tell Me Where Love Is Gone * 12 Into The Light


WEBLINKS: www.oliverhartmann.com

There is life after power metal. Who would've thought that when Oliver Hartmann departed the excellent German band At Vance that both he and his former outfit would be part of a win-win situation? That is exactly what's happened. At Vance secured the talented Matts Leven as the vocal replacement, while the shift to a solo career, and a departure from the heavy territory of power metal to the fluffy shores of AOR and melodic rock has proved to be a windfall for Hartmann. On this superb effort, he comes across as a mix of David Coverdale, Matti Alfonzetti, and James Christian. All powerful singers with melody as their middle-name. Not only that, he plays all guitars, and there is a fair amount of orchestral arrangements throughout. When we think of significant bands, and their lead singers going off to do their own thing, a couple of superb examples have cropped up over recent times. Jeff Scott Soto's 'Prism' album, plus Jack Russell's 'For You' both gained positive noteriety during 2002, the latter undoing all his good work and having to move into damage control after the Rhode Island disaster involving his band Great White. No such issues for Hartmann however. 'Out In The Cold' an out-of-sorts album title I'd suggest. How about 'Turning Up the Heat'? That is far more appropriate.

The Songs
Judging from the first couple of tracks, it is clear that we have a good record on our hands. The flange guitar effects introduce us to 'Alive Again', a track which showcases Oliver's vocal away from the rampant delivery of At Vance. The title track follows next, complete with orchestral backing and a voice that is raspy but powerful. 'Brazen', is a cover of the Skunk Anansie tune, and it's pretty good I must say. The melodies derived from the verses of acoustic guitar lead into some stirring passages on the chorus. Hartmann grinds away on a heavier track called 'The Same Again'. In contrast, the sweeping grandeur of 'I Will Carry On' is top shelf balladry. It's followed by 'What If I'.. and if material by Gotthard or Casanova strikes a chord, then this track is for you. Some rigourous drumming from ex MSG drummer Bodo Schopf keeps 'How Long' high up on the energy-meter, while 'The Journey' is a heartfelt and smooth slice of music that represents Hartmann's new found approach perfectly. Meanwhile 'Can You Tell Me Where Love Has Gone' is an impassioned ballad which strikes the right balance between acoustic and electric. The closer 'Into The Light' rides on the crest of some smooth keyboard layers, tinkled piano and spacious drums. A perfect way to close the album down.

In Summary
Production values are sky-high thanks to big-name twiddler Sascha Paeth, and along with a cool selection of songs, you will find Oliver Hartmann right up there among the most listenable rock albums of 2005. Despite it being a rock album, it is not overly endowed with guitar solos, just great melodic rock that demonstrates an excellent singer at the top of his game. Comparisons have been made to the likes of Dare, Drive She Said and Giant. Those are a bit rich I feel, I certainly come away not thinking about classy acts such as those. Perhaps in a few albums time he might be. Nonetheless, the quality of the album is a surprise yes, and you can be guaranteed that Oliver won't be out in the cold for much longer.

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 12:17:07
A quality album all the way There are some very very good songs on this -My tops being 'Alive Again', 'Brazen' which even surpasses the excellent Skunk Anansie original, the killer 'Can you Tell Me Where Love Has Gone ' & 'What If' all being top quality. Add to that a nice full production and impressive performances from all involved and you have a very impressive debut indeed!.
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