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Radiant - Written By Life Award winner

Radiant
Written By Life
by Chris Hicklin at 09 May 2022, 5:42 AM

Is it just me, or does Germany have a seemingly endless supply of Melodic Hard Rock bands these days? I don’t think it is just me. Anyhow, RADIANT are a German Melodic Hard Rock band, they were formed in 2014 and this is their second attempt at a full-length LP after their 2018 self-titled debut. They have come up with a nice concept for this release, each band member contributed several personal stories about their lives, the struggles, hardships and triumphs they have been through. The band then sat down together and composed a collaborative album of songs around these stories. The result is a strongly melodic, superbly performed collection of heartfelt Hard Rockers that captures a band in a really good place with each other.

First track is “Nightshift,” a driving track with a nice dual guitar melody, I am going to say that despite the personal nature of the lyrics, the strength here is really the quality of the vocal delivery and music rather than the lyrical content, which throughout the album lacks something in the way of imagery. This may be down to the constraints of performing in a second language (English). I feel the same way about “Don’t Stop The Daydream” which has a super guitar intro, with a fist pumping chorus and skywards vocal abilities, but again the lyrics are just a little simplistic. This has a bit of a Proggy feel to it with its keyboards, rhythmic experimentations and wildly expressive guitar solo.

Real Passion Will Never Die” is bordering on NWOBHM with a very Smith/Murray harmonized guitar riff and thunderous galloping drums, which drop out into a bit of a Blaze era vocal. The song is very clearly about the joys of buying records, the ritual of going to the shop, greeting the owner, selecting your purchases and then getting them home and digesting the music and the artwork. As a man who’s first job was as a 15-year-old kid in a rare records shop, who was educated in music by the experience of travelling to national record fayres with my QUEEN superfan boss (he had a numbered blue vinyl “Bohemian Rhapsody” seven inch, if you know, you know), jawing with older more experienced dealers and dodging police raids on our bootlegs, this one really resonated with me. It probably could have done without the dig at today’s kids at the end though, “Today the kids are streaming, They even don't know what they hear,” I thought that was a bit curmudgeonly and not entirely true either.

Live The Adventure” seems a bit more serious in its pensive delivery, and I like the lyrics more on this one too, which impart the ups and downs of a life on the road and the infectious hunger for music and adventure it brings, musically it sounds a bit like MAGNUM. Similarly “Because of You” is a slightly prosaic but very touching tribute to the most important woman in every man’s life; his Mother. I say that because as the song points out, you literally owe your existence to her, although the song digs deeper into this particular mother/son relationship. Besides this it is a decent mid-tempo foot tapper with some spiffy harmonized backing vocals and a typically fluid guitar solo.

Contagioned” sounds like it is going to be a ballad for a moment but it doesn’t take long before it gets down and dirty with a sleazy Hard Rock riff, this one also contains yet another incredible guitar solo, shreddy but oh so satisfying. This one seems to be about first discovering Rock music as a teenager, and the complete obsession that led to for most of us. Clearly written by the drummer as well, the references to beating random objects and broken sticks give this one away, as does the subject’s fear of being labelled a “bonehead,” if you’ve ever met a drummer you’ll know what I mean. “Rock and Win” is nothing more than a full-throated celebration of creating Rock music. And why not. “Dare to Fail” really sounds like it is going to launch into “You Give Love A Bad Name” for a moment, and in the verses it carries with it all the delicious Hair Metal trappings of that song, while the choruses suddenly get bizarrely psychedelic with swirling keys. Quite an odd one and very entertaining.

Hurtling into the home stretch “Twice A Week” is a very emotive song about seeing your friend turn up to pick you up for band practice "Suddenly it's bright, There are two lights in the dark", and then all rocking out together. As always, just that bit too literal in the lyrics, but nevertheless this will speak to anybody that knows that feeling. It’s also got a very catchy repetitive chorus that will make you want to sing along. “Hang Around With Friends” needs no further explanation as far as the content goes. It’s got a lovely intro with a bit of Hendrix inspired guitar that then breaks into a stomping Rocker with wailed backing vocals and a thunderously beefy guitar riff.

There is no mistaking the utter joy for life and music this band were feeling when they recorded this album. The production is great throughout, the melodies are in abundance, and the performances of all the musicians are perfect. I won’t labour the point about the lyrics any further as actually the lyrics really spoke to me in many places and brought wonderful memories of my own life and youth flooding back. This is going to appeal a lot to any fan of great song writing, cheesy guitar riffs and the Rock life, but particularly to those with an emotional connection to records, to playing with friends and to playing live. I’m off to do some guitar practice.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Nightshift
2. Don't Stop The Daydream
3. Real Passion Will Never Die
4. Live The Adventure
5. Stand That Fight
6. Because Of You
7. Contagioned
8. Rock And Win
9. Dare To Fail
10. Twice A Week
11. Hang Around With Friends
Lineup:
Herbie Langhans - Vocals
Carsten Stepanowicz - Guitars
Flo Gottsleben - Guitars
Markus Beck - Bass
Manni Spalka – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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