Gotthard – “#13” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
After 16 number one albums, over three million records sold worldwide and more than 2,000 live shows, Gotthard prove once again that after 25 years, they know how to rock hard and in fine style too! Simply titled to reflect that it’s this Swiss band’s 13th studio release and with 13 tracks too (not sure if that’s a coincidence?), the quality and confidence exuded across the material reflects this veteran band’s prowess – acknowledged by the song writing collaboration with Status Quo’s Francis Rossi on ‘Missteria’. Damn near defining the perfect hard rock sound inspired by the 70s through classic rock, blues rock and even psychedelia, variety and experimentation is the theme on this release, so expect to hear touches of Queen, Thunder and Def Leppard although it’s all still very much in the Gotthard frame. Crunching in hard through the twin guitars of Leo Leoni and Freddy Scherer on ‘10,000 Faces’ this kick ass stadium rocker teases through Nic Maeder’s croons of ‘…oooh yeh’ as much as it air punches driven by Hena Habeggar’s hard beats, not forgetting the roaring crowd chorus adding that final, excellent touch. Taking on ABBA’s ‘S.O.S.’ the deep guitars once again exude overflowing passion along with just the right level of power to make this rock cover one to be truly proudly of in representing the genre, while the moving piano and Maeder’s manly but touching vocals hit home in the heart just as the original did – awesome. Going deep and epic on ‘No Time To Cry’ with the power melodies from the guitars melding beautifully with subtle flowing cellos, the atmosphere of the song moves from its quiet passion to stirringly powerful, carried by Maeder’s superb vocals throughout, offering just the right pitch to match the song’s emotion right up to its wailing climax – wow, definitely a case of ‘be still my beating heart’! Gotthard have returned with another top release to rock out the masses just in time for another all conquering European tour.