Showing posts with label gotthard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gotthard. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

video review: 'silver' by gotthard

Man alive, I really wish I liked this more. There was a chance this could have worked... and yet it just felt really underwhelming to me, and I can't deny I'm disappointed.

So now time for The xx... whoo, that'll be fun, so stay tuned!

album review: 'silver' by gotthard

I shouldn't be as defensive as I am when I talk about Gotthard.

I mean, this is a hard rock and heavy metal band that has existed for around twenty-five years at this point, this is their twelfth record of original material, they've never released a bad album! So why do I always feel like I'm steeling myself whenever I talk about this Swiss group who is named for a mountain range in their country and a ridiculous pun?

Well, part of it is that Gotthard is a group that has always felt distinctly out of their own time - they're a melodically driven hard rock act that released their debut in 1992, at the very moment that style of music went out of style in the mainstream and became very easy to mock. And they were not a band that decided to leap aboard mainstream trends in rock either - there has definitely been stylistic experimentation and shifts in the tones and sounds, but at the end of the day they're going to throw up the horns and rock the hell out with the sort of larger-than-life swagger that most mainstream music seems to snub as being too much fun. I like Gotthard in the same way I like Andrew W.K. - there may be a simplicity to their formula on the surface, especially in the lyrics, but when you execute it so well, I can appreciate the power and purity that shines through. Now of course if you've dug in deep to Gotthard's discography you'll know there's a lot more beneath the surface than meets the eye - an old-fashioned style of performance and composition, to be sure, but Gotthard has continued to update their production while still maintaining the core of their sound

As such, it should be no surprise I was primed to enjoy their newest record - it's been three years since their album BANG! completely blew through any expectations I might have had, and it's their third album with frontman Nic Maeder stepping in for the late and legendary Steve Lee. They know their lane, they're a band that can literally take any possible direction at this point in their career - where does Silver take us?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

Holy shit, this video took hours. Really happy with it... except for some of the volume levels on the music, but that was such a pain in the ass to get right that I'm fine with where they are.

Next up, Mastodon. Stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

I've been debating with myself pretty consistently over the past few weeks whether or not to make this. It's a pretty common thing with critics to take stock of their favourites at this point of the year, and considering I've covered 108 albums thus far this year, in terms of sheer volume it'd make sense for me to go back and take stock of what I've heard and what deserves consideration going into the second half of the year. And while I'm leery about spoiling my year-end list, long-time fans will probably be able to figure that out anyways, so why not go the extra mile and draw a spotlight to some acts that are definitely worth the consideration. 

So without further ado:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

video review: 'bang!' by gotthard

Wow, this album was fun. And since I've been listening through the Pharoahe Monch discography in preparation for his new album, I've been awash in great music lately. Times like these I really like this job.

Okay, next up is The Oath. Stay tuned!

album review: 'bang!' by gotthard

I've made no secret of the fact that I have an unironic love of hair metal and hard rock, the sort that was most prevalent throughout the 1980s. Sure, it was dumb, cheesy, and occasionally ridiculously chauvinist, but it was a genre that at least was willing to go over-the-top when it came to instrumental prowess, bombast, and sense of fun to elevate the material, which was a huge redeeming factor for me. And thus, I can appreciate the irony that the hair metal and hard rock I would come to love effectively died out around the time I was born, replaced by a grunge and alternative scene I never really embraced in the same way.

But the fun fact is that Nirvana and Pearl Jam didn't really kill that genre more than the genre simply killed itself through over-saturation and a lot of mediocre bands riding the trend, especially in the tail end of the 80s. And thus in 2008, off of listening to 01011001, the newest magnificent progressive metal project from Ayreon, I decided to check out the band of Steve Lee one of the singers associated with the project.

That band was Gotthard, a Swiss hard rock that started in 1992, a few years after its brand of hard rock was supposed to be dead and yet still managed to sustain a career... and they're one of my favourite bands of all time. No, I'm not kidding, a retro-hard rock act with a terrible pun for a name is one of my favourite bands, and they're also the act I point to when I say this brand of hard rock is worth defending over their decades-long career. Their cover of Bob Dylan's 'Mighty Quinn' has been my ringtone for five years!

So what makes Gotthard worth a damn? Well, in comparison to most hard rock, Gotthard had a melodic focus, which leaned towards killer hooks over displays of sheer instrumental prowess. And while the band had its fair share of cheesy ridiculousness, they also weren't bad songwriters and weren't afraid to take risks with their material or venture into different genres altogether. The combination of those two factors has meant Gotthard has made some killer rock ballads over the years, especially in their mid-period work in the late 90s and early 2000s. However, most people remember Gotthard for their frontman Steve Lee, who honestly might have been one of the best hard rock vocalists in the industry. It wasn't just that he had an impossible range that remained emotionally compelling and expressive, but he made it look easy.

Sadly, Steve Lee passed away in a motorcycle accident in October 2010, and Gotthard brought in a new replacement with Nic Maeder for their 2012 album Firebirth. And while that album is pretty good, it's also decidedly transitory, as Maeder is trying to step into some pretty big shoes and he didn't quite seem to fill them, at least initially. And thus, when I heard they were releasing a new album this year with Bang!, I was excited. Hopefully touring and songwriting with the band had improved their chemistry, and this new incarnation of Gotthard would impress me. So how's the album?