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Hartmann - Hands on the Wheel

Hands on the Wheel
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 20 June 2018, 12:40 PM

HARTMANN is a German hard rock band founded by singer/guitarist Oliver Hartmann in 2004. Since their debut "Out in the cold" (2005) the band recorded six international successful studio albums including their live DVD/CD 'Handmade' plus the compilation 'The best is yet to come'. The new album 'Hands On The Wheel’ including two singles and a special duet with Eric Martin of MR. BIG was released on May18th 2018 Having the status as being one of Germany's best Hard Rock acts the band has been touring as support and special guest with EDGUY, TOTO, HOOTERS, MOTHER'S FINEST and HOUSE OF LORDS and played their first headliner tour in late autumn 2012. Besides HARTMANN, Oliver is also member of top seller AVANTASIA, ROCK MEETS CLASSIC and the successful German Pink Floyd tribute ECHOES.

Let’s get to some of the highlights on the album. “Don’t Want Back Down” is the opening track, with a mid-tempo melancholy sound. Hartmann’s vocals at first are low in the registry, with soulful crooning and some vibrato. He also negotiates some higher ranges with a full and meaty style. “Cold as Stone” has a bit of a funky groove from a finger-picked guitar riff. Some vocal harmonies in the chorus provide an easy sing-along type of sound. Eric Martin is featured in the song “Simple Man.” It’s a soulful song with some pensive emotions and the duet works quite well together. “Last Plane Out” has a swifter tempo and an upbeat sound.  The smooth and easy listening riff is great. For me, it registers in the AOR genre, with a lot of melody.

“Soulmates” is a seven minute, introspective song. It moves along slowly with just a bit of instrumentation, focusing mostly on the vocal performance, which is highly emotional in its delivery. “Dream World” uses that finger picking again on the main riff. It opens with a bit of a suspenseful sound, leading to some more positive tones in the chorus. “I remember” opens with some hushed tones and a steady bass guitar riff. The chorus is nice and big and some lead guitar heavy with wah-wah makes an entrance as well. “The Sky is Falling” has an ominous title. It’s a slow moving song that builds well to a crescendo leading up to the final chorus. Hartmann really reaches down inside to pull out a soulful vocal performance. “Heart of Gold” closes the album, with acoustical guitars and tender strings.

Overall, this was an easy album to enjoy, because it was just so smooth and understandable. Hartmann has a great voice as well that shows some real versatility, with his signature expression and emotion. He takes you on a journey with his music that brings you back to the days when things seemed simpler, and allows you to enjoy your life more fully.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Don’t Want Back Down
2. Your Best Excuse
3. Cold as Stone
4. Simple Man
5. Last Plane Out
6. Soulmates
7. The Harder they Come
8. Dreamworld
9. I Remember
10. Lost in Translation
11. The Sky is Falling
12. Heart of Gold
Oliver Hartmann – Vocals, Guitar
Mario Reck – Guitar
Armin Donderer – Bass
Markus Kullmann – Drums
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music


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