15 Pearls and Gems

Label: Pride & Joy Music
Three similar bands: At Vance/Avantasia/Soul Seller

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Can’t Stop This Train
2. Walking On A Thin Line
3. How Does It feel
4. You Will Make It
5. Glow (Remix 2020)
6. When The Rain Begins To Fall (feat. Ina Morgan)
7. Street Café
8. I Go To Extremes
9. Uninvited
10. Fire And Water
11. The Sun’s Still Rising (live)
12. What If I (live)
13. Don’t Give Up Your Dream (live)
14. Brothers (live) (feat. Tobias Sammet)
15. Out In The Cold (live)

Oliver Hartmann - vocals, guitar
Mario Reck - guitar
Armin Donderer - bass
Markus Kullmann - drums

Out in the Cold (2005)
Home (2007)
Handmade (2008)
3 (2009)
Balance (2012)
The Best is Yet to Come (2013)
Shadows and Silhouettes (2016)
Hands On The Wheel (2018)

Tobias Sammet - vocals
Ina Morgan - vocals

co-produced by Sascha Paeth

Released 2020-04-17
Reviewed 2020-05-19


pride & joy

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Hartmann has now been around for fifteen years and they celebrate by providing fifteen pearls and gems for the fans to enjoy, but I wouldn’t say that they show it with a great album cover.  They have made a sort of document of their career but instead of making a compilation they provide four new songs, one remixed song, five covers, and five live tracks recorded at the Colossaal in Achaffenburg. That makes it far more exciting than your everyday compilation of the best songs according to someone, and the covers are by bands like Billy Joel, Alanis Morisette, Free and such, and that makes it more interesting than some Helloween, Black Sabbath, or Iron Maiden covers.

Musically it will be familiar to any fan of the Hartmann brand of music, it isn’t really breaking much new creatively but an album that is released for an occasion can be forgiven for looking a little in the rear-view mirror. Thanks to the nature of the album with new songs, covers and live tracks, the albums gets a quite dynamic feel and I would say that it feels a bit shorter than it is. The new songs begin, the covers are the middle of the album and the live tracks end it. Oliver Hartmann sings really well, I would describe him like a better version of Whitesnake’s David Coverdale; he has good feel and strong voice that lifts the songs of Hartmann to a higher level. The sound is also excellent, perhaps thanks to the co-production from the great Sascha Paeth.

Pearls and gems come thick and fast throughout this album, it is really good and all the tracks are up to a high level, even the live tracks sound really well, especially the finishing one. I think the opening track sets a good tone and the promise it gives is delivered through the album with good tracks like Walking on a Thin Line and Fire and Water just to name two more. All the tracks are really good and there isn’t any really disappointing aspect, and that gives this album both lustre and quality, I think that is well worth checking out as it is great.

The Hartmann fans will love this album, it presses all the right buttons and provides some excellent music. I have nothing to complain about, besides the cover artwork that isn’t the best I have seen, it is a really enjoyable album to listen to. Sure, you could argue about originality, but that is true in most cases in the music business, and that should not detract from the fact that it is great album.