01. Starlight
02. Give Me Real
03. Remember It's Me
04. Fight
05. Yippie Aye Yay
06. Tell Me
07. Shine
08. The Story's Over
09. Right On
10. S.O.S.
11. Take It All Back
12. I Can
13. Where Are You

Leo Leoni - guitar
Freddy Scherer - guitars
Marc Lynn - bass guitar
Hena Habegger - drums
Nic Maeder - vocals

Gotthard (1992)
Dial Hard (1994)
G. (1996)
Open (1999)
Homerun (2001)
Human Zoo (2003)
Lipservice (2005)
Domino Effect (2007)
Need to Believe (2009)


Produced by Leo Leoni and Paul Lani.

Released 1/6-2012
Reviewed 10/7-2012

nuclear blast

Like the legendary bird called the Phoenix, Gotthard rises from the ashes with their tenth album called Firebirth to signify this rebirth. Of course they were not burnt into a pile of ashes but lost their friend and band member Steve Lee who of course left a rather big empty space behind when he was hit there on the american road. And it wasn’t at all certain that the band would go on after what happened back then but eventually they decided to go on if they found the right guy for the vocal duties. Of course the new singer Nic Maeder has got some big shoes to fill because there is nothing that makes you better as an artist than dying, so you can imagine what a fantastic vocalist he is to replace. Of course he is not to emulate Steve Lee but I don’t think it is possible to avoid some comparisons between the two. I however will refrain from comparing their skills as singers as I don’t really think that is the easiest of tasks and it has no real bearing on the album anyway.

Musically we recognise Gotthard who as usual brings out a very melodic disposition. But there are also some ballads just to beak of this sensation of always energetic and rough. The sound is a bit more raw than we are used to with today’s production, it is also quite focused and coherent making this into a very solid production. And being a bit rawer and edgy than what is common in the genre it gives a sense of energy but at the same time there are some more more fine tuned ballads to balance the more energetic songs. So the result is a well balanced album with a slightly more raw feel than the previous few albums by the band but also than what is customary in the genre. And they do keep the playing time in decent check as well with a little under 50 minutes of playing time on thirteen tracks which are as I said a very balanced mixture of songs that seems to be working well.

Some said that the band should have called it a day when Steve passed as they for some reason fail to understand that Gotthard is a band and Steve was a member of the band but when he died the rest of the band survived and they have every right to keep the band going, which they did. The reception has been everything from these idiots who thinks the bands should have quit when Steve passed to those who seems to think it is a perfect album and then some that were in between. Some reviewer said Nic Maeder the new singer was too much alike Steve Lee which I personally think is bullshit, they are the same type of singer but Nic is rather different so on that account we get a new singer yet with a touch of familiarity. And that is actually my sense of the thing as a whole, it is Gotthard but it feels as though they have renewed themselves and have come up with something new and fresh.

And it is a very good album as well, maybe not the best by Gotthard in total but I think just looking at the sound of the band they are better than ever. Nic is a really good vocalist for this king of music and the only thing really missing is that distinct hit song that they usually manage to find on their album, but even so it is a really good album and Steve would have been happy to be part of it I think and it is a great tribute to Steve as well, his band is going on at least as strong as before. So a stronger and fresher Gotthard arises from the ashes just like the bird, so a firebirth to mark a not only a comeback but also a rebirth of the best ever swiss band. Thank you Gotthard, for another fine album. But was there ever any doubt? after all they have been doing great albums for a long time, and have done so now again.



Label: Nuclear Blast/Warner
Three similar bands: Whitesnake/Scorpions/Rainbow
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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