Pias www.gotthard.com [Released 01.04.14]
Solid hard rock is not something you associate with Switzerland, but Gotthard are one of Switzerland’s most successful bands. This is their 11th studio album, and second with vocalist Nic Maeder (after the death of original singer Steve Lee in a motorcycle accident).
The album opens with the heavy bluesy title track that mixes some sludgy guitar with some almost sleazy punchy vocals – one to get the head nodding for sure. ‘Get Up And Move On’ is another uptempo track with some clean rocking vocals over the fuzzy metal guitars. ‘Feel What I Feel’ changes the tone with a driving rhythm, a melodic touch and darker slightly gothic vocals. That contrasts well with the acoustic ballad tones of ‘C’Est La Vie’.
From boogie to anthemic AOR/Metal, there is a blues undertone throughout the album. The guitar is superb, a few blistering moments, and balanced at times with some rich keyboards. There is a standout instrumental segment in ‘Spread Your Wings’ where the interplay is excellent.
The album closes with the epic 10 minute ‘Thank You’, dedicated to guitarist’s Leo Leoni recently departed mother. Big production – orchestra, vocal duet, ballad, overblown moments – kitchen sink – it’s a suitably big and moving number.
Overall an excellent album but there are a couple of disjointed or muddy moments. Well worth a listen through – should do well. ***1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
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