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(Avenue Of Allies)
Release Date: 1st June 2012

Phil Kane

phil kane

hartmann balance

Fuckin' hell, this is sultry stuff. It has the smooth bite of the finest Arabic coffee; deliciously rich and dark, strong with the promise of a sleepless night to follow. In short, this album is pure undiluted class.

A quick look at his CV will tell you that Oliver Hartmann is a workaholic. He is a man that does not seem to be able to sit still and must have been fucking torture as a kid.

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Born in Germany, Oliver is a multi instrumentalist as well as a songwriter but it is his voice that is his trump card. A less bluesy take on Coverdale's, it has a deep underlying Tom Jones (yes, that's right, Tom Jones. You got a fucking problem with that?) quality that gives the vocal performance a richness that is nigh on impossible to resist.

Balance is Hartmann's fifth solo album, but the umpteenth album he has been involved with since his emergence in the late nineties. It seems all that work and experience has paid off too because this album is full to the brim of standout blue chip melodic rock.

'Shout', a cover of the Tears For Fears classic, gets an injection of Metal it has been crying out years for and 'Dance On The Wire' nicks Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home...' riff and uses it to give the album a bit of a laid back acoustic break without effecting the groove.

'After The Love Is Gone' slides over your senses like a silk sheet as you lay in yer pit after some seriously slow action with your preferred partner of choice and the jangling drive of 'Like A River' captures the uplifting feel that percolates throughout the project.

Overall, balance has a huge heart of soul that is criminally lacking from a lot of Metal these days. Oliver Hartmann seems to understand that to give Metal soul does not mean it has to lose its grunt. It's a mix that Frankie Miller would appreciate, though sadly many others wouldn't.

There is not a dud on 'Balance' and even the lighter waving closer 'The Best Is Yet To Come' has a grandiosity that is difficult not to admire. Let's hope its sentiment is not just a hollow boast or an empty promise.

Sadly this album is in no way innovative; it is too late for that but what it does, it does extremely well and would make the perfect introduction to AOR as well as make a worthy addition to any veterans archive.

If you are partial to a bit of high quality AOR then this album will be right up your street. So, now you've read this do you not think it's time to get that criminally underused caffatiere out and treat yourself to a cup of Arabia's finest brew whilst getting lost in the richness of 'Balance'.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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