• 6/10
    HARTMANN - Home - 6/10


Release date: January 26, 2007

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0/10 (0 votes)

German singer and guitar player Oliver Hartmann returns with his second solo album, again on Frontiers records. The latter already gives more than a hint of what can be expected, as it is one of the busiest labels releasing fresh Melodic Rock from a host of bands and artists, and Hartmann is one of them.

Bandleader Oliver is better known to most for his four albums with his former band, At Vance, which are held still in high regard. He parted with At Vance due to personal reasons in 2002, and after guest appearances on several projects like Avantasia and Genius, his first solo album Out In The Cold launched not too long after the split, took him into a more melodic direction, but was still quite heavy. The album had remarkable success, and earned him several opening shows for Toto on their 2006 European tour.

Home was recorded with his touring band, so it seems Hartmann has become a band rather than a project. The musicians he recruited are not very well known, but the album shows solid musicianship, given that the style does not call for virtuosos of any kind anyway, which is hardly a surprise when one knows that several members make a living as studio musicians. Maybe Armin Donderer on bass is the exception, as he plays in the German outfit Freedom Call too. The album was produced by Oliver Hartmann together with Sascha Paeth, whose references include such big names as Angra and Kamelot (he is even on stage in Kamelot’s brilliant DVD One Cold Winter’s Night), and the sound leaves nothing on the table.

His second album starts off right in the same spirit as his debut with “Coming Home To You,” one of the highlights of the album that surely will excite all fans of good, handmade Melodic Rock — up-tempo, nice guitar, good chorus. There are several additional enjoyable tracks gathered on Home: “Somewhere Someday,” “Higher Than Me,” “Why Do I,” and “Millionaire,” accompanied by some standard Rock songs like “The Sun’s Still Rising,” “Just For You.” While the songwriting abilities are not outstanding, those songs make a really nice listen and will appeal to AOR and Melodic Rock fans. What may be a point of criticism is that the album in total is a bit too heavy on the ballad side, as a total of four slow tunes round off Home. While “I Don’t Want To Know’ definitely deserves its spot, as it is a great love song and a Melodic Rock album would not be complete without one, the other three would not be missed much were they left out.

Oliver Hartmann seemingly knew that four ballads would be too much for most fans, and cleverly put two of them at the end of the album. This self-criticism is a rare treat among artists; one has to tip his hat to Hartmann for this. So, if you don’t share his heartache, you can just turn off the album after song #9!

Overall, this is a nice Melodic Rock album –- not a milestone, but solid food for the genre enthusiast. On the side, it features deep insight into the German mentality as the cover picture depicts a typical German living room, complete with beer bottles on the table, which Germans use to feed their babies instead of milk, and a painting with the stag in the background next to the old fashioned floor lamp. Connessiours will notice that he has but one little flaw in his surroundings – right, the cuckoo clock is missing. Still, looks like Home


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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