1. All My Life
2. Like a River
3. You Are the One
4. Fool for You
5. After the Love Is Gone
6. Save Me
7. Fall from Grace
8. From a Star
9. Dance on the Wire
10. Shout
11. Time to Face the Truth
12. The Best Is Yet to Come

Oliver Hartmann – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Mario Reck – Guitars
Armin Donderer – Bass
Dario Ciccioni – Drums

Out in the Cold (2005)
Home (2007)
Handmade (2008)
3 (2009)

Jürgen Wüst - Organ
Xaver Fischer - Keyboards
Tiffany Kirkland - Backing vocals

Produced by Oliver Hartmann
Mixed by Sascha Paeth
Mastered by Simon Oberender

Released 1/6-2012
Reviewed 20/6-2012

avenue of allies

Oliver Hartmann is a well known hardrock/metal singer with appearances in many different projects but also as a former singer of At Vance and now doing his own thing with Hartmann which is the project that is now releasing their fifth studio album. And this fifth effort is an album called Balance and on balance it has a really bad looking album cover, I have not idea what they were thinking when doing that one. Fortunately for Oliver it is not the cover art we are looking at but what is one this album that has received some good reviews on the web. Although web reviews aren’t really that reliable and as the album is released on Avenue of Allies one knows that it will probably be a solid album albeit nothing even remotely like spectacular. Thing is though that there are always exceptions to a rule and with a voice as Hartmann’s there is always the possibility for greatness.

Musically it is rather typical AOR, nothing much separating it from that. The choruses are catchy and in focus, the melodies are very catchy as well and the production is spotless giving that lovely AOR-sound. Although thanks to the voice of Oliver Hartmann it is still slightly different and over the twelve tracks there is a fair bit of variation making the album likely to last more than two play throughs. On the album we get around 54 minutes of music that in terms of the sound is a high quality product.

This is one of those albums you just want to listen to, the songs are strong all the way through, Oliver has a fantastic voice, the sound is brilliant and there are some strong focal points that triggers your interest in the album. It is definitely a really good album. Tracks like the second one, Like a River is even more brilliant and a track that ensures you returning to the album again and again as that track is just amazing and one of the focal points on the album. Another point of focus is From A Star, characteristically quite different from Like a River but mesmerising nonetheless. I would say that if you enjoy AOR or melodic hardrock this is definitely an album for you to look closer to, not the cover artwork though because that really stinks.

In all fairness there is really not much to be said about this album, it is just straightforward and really good, well balanced and with some real standout songs it makes for a great album to listen to. And I can also point out that there is no real weakness in this album, not even the long playing time is a problem as you don’t really notice this over the course of the album as it is so varied and you get sort of occupied with just listening to the songs rather than caring about playing times, which is usually not the case as most albums are too long and cannot keep you interested. So in the end Hartmann succeeds really well with this album and if you are a fan of music you really need to look this one up, it is really good.




Label: Avenue of Allies/Germusica
Three similar bands: At Vance/Avantasia/Soul Seller
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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