Gotus – Gotus Review

Swiss Supergroup GOTUS Falls Short of Expectations with Debut Album 'Gotus': A Critical Review...

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Hard Rock

 

Line Up:

Mandy Meyer – guitars
Ronnie Romero – vocals
Pat Aeby – drums
Tony Castell – bass
Alain Guy – keyboards

 

Tracklist:

1  Take Me To The Mountain
2  Beware Of The Fire
3  Love Will Find Its Way
4  Undercover
5  Weekend Warriors
6  Children Of The Night
7  When The Rain Comes
8  Without Your Love
9  What Comes Around Goes Around
10  Reason To Live
11  On The Dawn Of Tomorrow

 

Whenever a band comes on the scene heralded as a “powerhouse,” a “rock sensation,” and a “perfect rock/metal quintet,” there’s going to be a lot of pressure for them to perform – to live up to the hype and expectations and deliver something amazing. Thus, GOTUS was described, but their self-titled debut seems to have (disappointingly) fallen a little short of the mark.

GOTUS is primarily the product of members from several well-established and successful Swiss metal bands, predominantly Krokus (guitarist Meyer, bassist Castell, and drummer Aeby) and was put together by Meyer and Aeby in 2019. Initially formed as a live attraction, the original lineup featured Dino Jelusick (Whom Gods Destroy frontman) as a vocalist, but he was eventually replaced by well-traveled singer Ronnie Romero in 2022.

GOTUS may have only been together as a band for a few short years, but their collective experience spans decades, and it clearly shows. The guys are undeniably excellent musicians, and their music has a mature quality, played with precision and purpose. The guitar work is fluid and melodic, and the keyboards add some extra color, but the bass lines are nothing special, and the drumming, though solid, is somewhat unimaginative. Thankfully, holding everything together is Romero’s superb voice, with its mix of power and rawness (reminiscent of Ronnie Dio, David Coverdale, and Klaus Meine).

“Gotus” was released on January 19th on Frontiers Music and has been very well produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge of Tomorrow/Hardline). Every instrument is sharp and clear, and it sounds great.

As a preview to the album, GOTUS released the single “Fallen Angel” in October 2023. A new version of a Cobra track (one of Meyer’s previous bands), this powerful prelude made quite a statement and was looked on as a taste of things to come. Unfortunately, though, “Gotus” doesn’t entirely live up to the promise.

The album blasts off with the terrific “Take Me to the Mountain,” which is exciting and energetic, with intense vocals, sweet licks, and a great sing-along chorus. It sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the album, but unfortunately, the remaining tracks just don’t get there.

The songs are quite conservative, a mix of rocky offerings, such as “Undercover” and “Weekend Warriors,” and 80’s-sounding power ballads, along with a couple of covers. The first of these is “When the Rain Comes,” a song previously recorded by Katmandu. This somber number has plenty of weighty riffage, is super-heavy on the keys, and has a nice time-change about halfway through, but at 6:21, I felt it was overlong, and I got the feeling the boys didn’t quite know when to stop.

The ballads are mostly okay, including “Love Will Find its Way,” where a gentle verse builds into a strong chorus, complimented by an evocative solo; “Children of the Night” has a lovely acoustic intro and outro and sounds a bit like the Scorpions in the chorus; “Reason to Live,” a cover of a Gotthard track, is strong and moody, with nice licks and some great layered vocals – definitely one of the standouts.

Worthy of a separate mention is “What Comes Around Goes Around,” which is refreshingly different from the other more conventional tracks. It’s the album’s most inventive number, containing some fab acoustic fretwork from Meyer, and his solo is outstanding.

The album closes on almost as strong a note as it started, “The Dawn of Tomorrow” pounding along with heavy riffs and a catchy chorus before steadily fading out.

Despite sounding really good, “Gotus” left me feeling a little deflated, as I expected so much more from a lineup hailed as a rock super-group. Other than a handful of standout tracks (“Take Me to the Mountain,” “Reason to Live,” “What Comes Around Goes Around”), I didn’t think there was anything truly new or particularly exciting here – everything was a little too safe and samey for my liking.

“Gotus” will surely appeal to fans of Krokus and Whitesnake, but for me, it just doesn’t hit hard enough: it’s good, but not great. GOTUS has the talent to become something truly spectacular; will they continue to play it safe, or push their boundaries and evolve into the true powerhouse that they are being billed as? Only time will tell.

 

Score: 7/10

Reviewed by: Brian Parker

 

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