||GOTTHARD STRIKE GOLD WITH NEW ALBUM 'SILVER'
Released Friday 13th January 2017 (BMG Records)
11th January 2017
Words: Luke Milne
Y'know, Switzerland's Gotthard have been strutting the hard rock scene for almost as many years as I've been wandering the earth trying to figure out what the fuck is happening and, more importantly, how to stop it. This year, the band will clock up twenty-five years of activity in the music industry, and what better way to celebrate such a milestone than the release of the band's twelfth studio album, 'Silver'.
It's a fitting and perhaps unintentionally clever name for the band's latest release; just as twenty-five years of marriage is traditionally celebrated with a silver anniversary, founding member Leo Leoni celebrates the same sterling level of commitment to Gotthard. As the doors part on the punchy opening track, 'Silver River', vocalist Nic Maeder is welcomed into the church of rock'n'roll by the sweet, swelling sounds of an organ and choral introduction.
'Silver' marks Maeder's third studio offering under the Gotthard banner, having taken up the mantle from the band's original vocalist Steve Lee, following his tragic death in a motorcycle accident at 47-years-old. Perched atop a sprawling backdrop of broad, distorted chord progressions and cracking percussive blasts, Maeder's vocal presence throughout 'Silver' is emotionally charged, drifting comfortably between varied levels of power and precision. Most importantly, the 45-year-old vocalist leads Gotthard's latest release through a fluid and captivating journey, marking the road ahead with a number of familiar (yet wholly welcome) rock music mantras.
There's something for almost every rock fan here amid the dusty, old-school feel of Gotthard's rock sound – and for once I'm not exaggerating. From the classically-inspired 'Tequila Symphony No.5' (which absolutely nicks its main riff from the hands of ol' Beef Oven) to the commercially accessible 'Stay With Me', and all the classically-charged rock laid inbetween, you'll be hard pressed to find something you don't like across the stretch of the album's thirteen tracks... unless you hate fun, that is.
That's what this album screams to me from my speakers; a good, healthy dose of good, old-fashioned fun. For all it's twists and turns, 'Silver' is a bright, colourful and quirky album that is, quite simply, a blast to listen to. It's not the heaviest thing out there (and it's not trying to be) but Gotthard present one of 2017s first rock releases as a listening experience that is light, catchy as hell, impressively packaged and satisfyingly complete; it's epic, beautiful, rockin', powerful and perhaps even spiritual at times.
Normally, and much to the annoyance of MetalTalk's poor editor, I'm a sucker for picking apart every aspect of an album and drawing up a thousand-word, track-by-track analysis of what makes it good, bad or ugly. I really don't feel the need to do that with Gotthard's latest release. Aside from anything else, I don't want to spoil the fun for you. But I guess the killer question is whether or not I recommend that you buy this album.
The answer is no.
I strongly encourage it.
Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here and listen to previous editions of The Sunday Slam With Luke Milne right here.