HARTMANN – Out In The Cold

HARTMANN - Out In The Cold


Frontiers Records
Release date: April 25, 2005

Vocals: B
Guitars: C
Bass: C+
Keyboards: C
Drums: B
Recording Quality: B+
Lyrics: B
Originality: B+
Overall Rating: B

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Music, like so many other careers and hobbies, has its own nuances that allow people to explore and grow with their own experiences. Case in point is vocalist Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, At Vance) who actually started his musical journey by playing guitar at the tender age of 10. Being interested in many different instruments and rock bands with outstanding vocalists, he started to focus more and more on singing. Enter Out In the Cold, which is Hartmann’s debut solo album and is best described as “Mature Rock.” This sub-genre fits well when describing a fine release showcasing Hartmann’s impressive vocal and songwriting skills.

The opening track, “Alive Again,” is an excellent introduction to Hartmann’s abilities. A clean, tightly-produced, rich sound graces a track full of melodic high points. How about a multi-tracked female back-up chorus (provided by Ina Morgan) that adds an almost soulful touch to an otherwise catchy chorus? Then there’s also a tasty guitar lead nugget and a guitar fade-out tidbit delivered by Hartmann himself. This is indeed one of the standout tracks of the release.

There’s also finesse added to tracks like “Out In The Cold,” which opens with a nicely done baroque string arrangement accompanied by drums and guitar. The operatic opening then fades into soothing, baritone David Coverdale-like vocals from Hartmann. Another string movement then graces the mid section… this is moving, emotional story telling at its best.

The rest of the album plays out pretty much in the same fashion. There’s not a horrible song on the release. Each track has its own nuances, it seems; be it an emotional vocal offering, a timely keyboard stab, or a nicely done guitar segue way. This is one of those rare “feel good” albums. Bodo Schopf (MSG) on drums and Armin Donderer (Paradox) on bass deliver a nice tight rhythm section, providing some timely off-beats, adding credence to the overall professional and mature sound.

This release will in no shape or form find grace with all Metal Express listeners. Be warned there’s not a lot of heavy guitar riffing, just well constructed, cleanly-produced Rock in the same vein as Giant, Strangeways, Dare, and some of the more toned-down offerings by Whitesnake. There’s a certain maturity and inspiration provided here by Hartmann’s music, vocals, and songwriting that is just not common in all of today’s music. It might take more then a few spins for it to sink in, but when all is said and done, the keenest listeners will say “that was certainly moving.”


Oliver Hartmann: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Bodo Schopf: Drums
Armin Donderer: Bass
Jurgen Wust: Keyboards
Ina Morgan: Background Vocals
Miro Rondenberg: String Arrangements


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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