CD Reviews

Gotthard - 'Silver' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 15, 2016    
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Not the absolute classic a twenty-five year anniversary album really should be, but it's one that definitely improves with subsequent listens.

Where did the last twenty-five years go? I can still remember the first time I stumbled upon Gotthard when 'Hush' was a regular visitor to MTV's 'Headbanger's Ball' – those were the days...

Of course, the tragic passing of vocalist Steve Lee in 2010 was always going to leave a scar, the much-missed front-man leaving a gaping hole in the music world, not to mention the band with which he made his name. Nobody wanted it to happen, but it is what it is and Gotthard have soldiered on with Nic Maeder fulfilling the unenviable task with aplomb. While the naysayers may bemoan that the band isn't what it used to be, let's not forget that for all the classic albums like 'Lipservice' and 'G' there was also distinctly average fare like 'Human Zoo' and 'Open'.

Honestly, Maeder's third Gotthard album (the band's twelfth overall) isn't exactly the absolute classic a twenty-five year anniversary album really should be, but it's one that definitely improves with subsequent listens. The last few albums have included occasional tracks that attempted to be un-naturally heavy for Gotthard, as if to prove the band can still compete with other heavier bands in the current musical climes. Thankfully 'Silver' avoids this trend, being a pretty straightforward Hard Rock album featuring the regular blend of punchy Rockers and svelte ballads.

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When Gotthard get it right they're indomitable, as the classy, mid-tempo and commercial first single 'Stay With Me' and the thumping Rocker 'My Oh My' attest to, though not far behind is the organ-drenched seventies Classic Rock of 'Silver River', the contrasting Contemporary feel of 'Beautiful', the rousing 'Blame On Me' and the oddly-named driving Rocker 'Tequila Symphony No.5'. Of the ballads, 'Only Love Is Real' is a classy blend of piano and orchestral textures with 'Reason For This' following similar guidelines to a lesser extent while 'Not Fooling Anyone' is a gentle, acoustic Folky tune.

The choruses aren't exactly huge, for the most part, but I could name a multitude of songs from throughout the band's career that befall a similar trait, yet it's never affected the allure of Switzerland's greatest Rock export at all during the last quarter of a century. As far as 'Silver' goes, it's better than 'Firebirth' but possibly not quite as good as 'Bang!' (though time will tell). Irrespective, it's Gotthard and for that we should be thankful.

Ant Heeks

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