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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Hartmann - 2012 Balance
Hartmann - 2012 Balance

ARTIST: Hartmann
ALBUM: Balance
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 12-04-0042
YEAR: 2012
SPONSOR: Germusica (Haulix)


LINEUP: Oliver Hartmann - vocals, guitars * Mario Reck - guitars * Armin Donderer - bass * Dario Ciccioni - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 All My Life * 02 Like A River * 03 You Are The One * 04 Fool For You * 05 After The Love Is Gone * 06 Save Me * 07 Fall From Grace * 08 From A Star * 09 Dance On The Wire * 10 Shout * 11 Time To Face The Truth * 12 The Best Is Yet To Come



We've followed the career of German artist Oliver Hartmann with great interest over the last few years. Even as far back as his time with metal outfit At Vance, Oliver has garnered a high level of inquiry due to his obvious melodic rock influences. We've covered most of those At Vance releases plus his solo albums too! Like a few other artists who have shuffled around different labels of late, so too has this bloke, now parked up at the home of Gregor Klee's Avenue Of Allies label. Oliver's been out on his own for seven years now, it seems like only yesterday when that first solo album 'Out In The Cold' graced our presence back in 2005. Who would've thought that time passes so quickly?

The Songs
Hartmann open their account with 'All My Life'. A fiery start made complete by an energetic and muscular delivery. Second up 'Like A River' is as close to modern day AOR as one can get without being tagged as a futurist. 'You Are The One' is a fantastic rocker in the vein of Harem Scarem in their more recent times. I'm sure most of you will enjoy this one. With a title such as 'Fool For You', one could be forgiven for thinking this is a Whitesnake number, and strangely enough Coverdale's mob come within earshot of similarity. I would say without hesitation that 'After The Love Is Gone' is the highlight of the album for me, with it's brooding undercurrent and stylish chorus. I think Oliver is onto something here.. 'Save Me' opens with some coarse guitar work and keeps to the modern rock side of the fence though the verses are restrained, things gradually build to blow the cork off the bottle. 'Fall From Grace' has a similar vibe to the aforementioned 'After The Love Is Gone' though not quite up to the same level of catchiness. 'From A Star' is a nice little mood changer, a ballad with a few sharp edges with a tempo that smells 'anthem'! 'Dance On The Wire' is an acoustic/electric hybrid which is as catchy as a winter flu, it's followed soon after by a cover of Tears For Fears 80's hit 'Shout'. This one has a modern near industrial vibe to it. A bit coarse sounding, but you shouldn't expect an exact replica when it comes to covers. In fact, if you look back over Oliver's records both solo and with At Vance, he's done a heap of covers, on 'Balance' the trend continues. 'Time To Face The Truth' is perhaps the kindest track on the album. Mid paced, melodic, and quite gentle all the way through. Lots of flanger guitar effects precedes the finale 'The Best Is Yet To Come'. This too winds down gently, apart from a melodic rush on the second chorus/bridge section.

In Summary
'Balance' is an easy album to slip on and pass away 40 minutes or more. A couple of catchy songs helps bring the overall quality up, though the album does drift away on the last couple of tracks whereas a couple more rockers would've been better. Perhaps a rearrangement of the track listing might have resolved this. In any case, I think Oliver Hartmann is one of the go-to guys in the modern melodic rock scene right now. He's not quite AOR for my tastes and I don't think he's even angling for that sub-genre if the truth be told. Adding to an already strong back-catalog, 'Balance' should appeal to those who like their melodic rock slightly edgy and slightly modern.

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#1 | gdazegod on June 13 2012 12:57:49
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#2 | Nick C on June 14 2012 22:17:32
I like the album cover, understated but cool. Kind of reminds me of the Pat Moraz album cover for Story of I.
#3 | Eric on June 14 2012 22:28:59
Ha! I was thinking the same thing.
#4 | george_the_jack on June 15 2012 23:38:41
A serious contender for toping my list of 2012!
#5 | Nick C on June 21 2012 16:38:13
Hmmmm..maybe not Oliver Hartmanns intention - but after my comment above I ended up buying the Pat Moraz on CD to replace my old terribly beaten up vinyl copy I got from a charity shop years and years ago.
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