Gotthard – “Bang!” (G Records / PIAS)
As solid as the Saint-Gotthard Massif they’re named after, Gotthard burst back as their fiery album title suggests! Despite losing co founder vocalist Steve Lee in 2010, new singer Nic Maeder has clearly found his feet as no better proven than on this 14th album from Switzerland’s best known modern hard rockers, whose last eleven albums have all reached number 1 in the Swiss album charts, as well as achieving multi-platinum status in other parts of the world. Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind & Gotthard’s own co founder guitarist Leo Leoni, “Bang!” has a hard driving sound throughout from the piston pounding ‘Jump The Gun’ with it’s crunching rock riffs and smashing cymbals to the hard rockin’ anthem ‘I Won’t Look Down’ complete with some cool but subtle orchestral backing and Maeder’s Coverdale-esque vocals. Even on the quieter tracks like the male / female duet of ‘Maybe’ there’s some interesting military drumming alongside the beautiful piano melodies in a subtle contrast. Power ballads is Gotthard at their best, and if that’s your treat then look no further than the passionate ‘Feel What I Feel’ with it’s suave n sexy groove and Maeder’s sultry vocals taking this track over the top to match the breathtaking Swiss landscape. With brilliant power rock riffs and graced by melodies throughout, “Bang!” showcases an impressive array of songs touching all aspects of the rock spectrum and in no small measure is a clear statement from the band that like their mountains, they are very much here to stay.