Gotthard – Need To Believe

Released by Nuclear Blast Records – 2009

Review Added September 08, 2009

. Produced by Rich Chycki
· Running Time: 47:05
· Release Date: September 04, 2009
· Musical Style: Hard Rock
· Links: http://www.gotthard.com/
Tracklisting
01. Shangri-La**
02. Unspoken Words
03. Need To Believe**
04. Unconditional Faith**
05. I Don’t Mind
06. Break Away**
07. Don’t Let Me Down**
08. Right From Wrong
09. I Know, You Know**
10. Rebel Soul
11. Tears To Cry**
12. Ain’t Enough (digi bonustrack)
**Hot Tracks

* Steve Lee – vocals
* Leo Leoni – guitars
* Freddy Scherer – guitars
* Marc Lynn – bass guitar
* Hena Habegger – drums

If you consider yourself a fan of hard rock then you should know the name of “Gotthard” by heart and should know enough to distinguish the fact that they have been not only atop the leader board in the hard rock kicking your ass category over the past 6 years, delivering the goods that all good hard rockers come to expect from great bands from the past. Now The highly anticipated 10th studio album entitled “Need To Believe” comes out in a year where it hasn’t necessary been the strongest for the hard rock genre and it gets an automatic jolt of energy and exuberance highly needed from Gotthard. Lead singer and vocalist extraordinaire Steve Lee went on to describe the name of the record as “Believe in yourself and do your own thing, even if you think it is impossible sometimes. Like it seems impossible to press water out of a stone. ‘Need To Believe’, because faith is essential.” No doubt that faith runs a long way when you are as consistent as these guys have been for the 5-6 years delivering such material of high quality as “Lip Service” and “Domino Effect”. Instantly recognizable is the amazing voice of vocalist Steve Lee, he just fits the core of what this band is all about so perfectly, hard driven, powerful and melodic at the same time, able to shift vocal lines so well and balance the power hard rock stuff with the more mellow material. To help out are a great supporting cast on guitars “Freddy Scherer” and “Leo Leoni” co founder of the band along with drummer “Hena Habegger” and bassist “Marc Lynn”.

We dig deeper to allow our heads and ears to just roll back the record and examine some of the highlights, and there are many. “Shangri-La” starts with a mysterious intro with some obscure distortion, leading to Lee blasting out the mic with some nice choruses exquisitely sucking the listener in to another bombardment of pure hard rock heaven. With it’s middle eastern melody the track captures the imagination of the music right away. High flying choruses and some nice guitar licks allow “Unspoken Words” to shine keeping the heavy bottom feel of the album rolling in fine fashion. Add a nice keyboard and guitar solo midway through and the album keeps on marching by in true Gotthard style, “heavy and melodic”. Both “Need To Believe” and “Unconditional Faith” which reminds me of some early Tesla or Badlands, churn along with same formula as their predecessors, some catchy choruses and add some signature guitar chops with some breaks in the choruses and the album seems to sweep by hammering away and I begin to question how these guys remain so dam consistent and sound so good after all these years, really amazing.

A stop and go wicked riff turns you on to “Break Away” and has Lee sounding like Bruce Dickinson singing something out of the “Brave New World” album. Still the choruses sore to new levels and the catchy lyrics make one break away from the madness all around us and just plug away with some hopeful and encouraging vocal lines. A favorite standout track for me is “Don’t Let Me Down ” opening things up with a traditional acoustic passage, here Lee’s powerful voice just captures the moment so well, this powerful ballad is all you wish for if you’re a fan of classic hard rock, tasty chops up and down and Steve Lee’s voice just has never sounded so good, love this track. Reminiscent of some classic Whitesnake with Coverdale maddening wails capturing you from the very beginning. I challenge any band to take a lesson from this track and tell me this wouldn’t bust an emotion in the 80’s.

Those infectious vocals and trendy keyboards add a nice layer of insanity to “Right From Wrong”, again sounding possibly as heaviest as any of the tracks before it, simply blast this loud and hard, no pun intended. Another favorite top cut is “I Know, You Know” with some sad lyrics at the beginning, this one provides just a well constructed song with some interesting lyrics and the rhythm section here is strong and bottom heavy, the dual guitars are also a strongpoint, pushing the track over the edge of average is the chorus making this yet another highlight, do we see a pattern here?. To close out this superb album is “Tears To Cry” and with a skilled symphonic introduction arrangement , Steve starts this one so slowly and melodic that it just puts a nightcap on yet another strong highlight , the lyrics just scream out that no matter how hard it can get the never let the faith die. This is how a powerful ballad is suppose to be made, super high choruses and Steve Lee hitting every note and singing his lungs out.

The expectations for this record have been enormous since they released “Domino Effect” not only because these guys deliver such high quality material but because they’re sound is not matched by many in the genre. They don’t let flashiness get in the way of the overall feel of the music. It helps to have an amazing vocalist in Lee, but the whole band just sounds extremely tight together and it seems like Gotthard just knows what it has and they follow their journey to keep on delivering excellent music. Is no wonder these guys are one of the biggest selling names in their native land of Switzerland and so popular in countries like Germany, and topping eleven number 1 albums and six top 10 singles in their historic career, leading them to open for bands like AC/DC, Deep Purple, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. I just hope to keep on enjoying they’re work for many years to come. Keeping the faith alive and rocking your face in fine fashion, no one does it better then Gotthard. Go pick up the album and support this talented band. Already on my top 5 list for releases this year. Highly recommended to say the least.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  9/10

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