The Best is Yet to Come

1. All My Life
2. Alive Again
3. Right Here Right Now
4. Out in the Cold
5. Crying
6. After the Love Is Gone
7. Like a River
8. The Sun's Still Rising
9. What If I
10. Don't Give Up Your Dream
11. Suddenly
12. Save Me
13. Coming Home to You
14. Into the Light
15. Brothers (Live)
16. Music (Live)

Mario Reck - Guitars
Armin Donderer - Bass
Oliver Hartmann - Vocals
Markus Kullmann - Drums
Bodo Schopf - Drums
Dario Ciccioni - Drums
Jürgen Wüst - Keyboards

Out in the Cold (2005)
Home (2007)
Handmade (2008)
3 (2009)
Balance (2012)


Oliver Hartmann - Producer, Mixing
Sascha Paeth - Mixing
Miro Rodenberg - Remastering
Mixed and remastered at Gate Studio.

Released 2013-09-20
Reviewed 2013-10-19


avenue of allies

Oliver Hartmann and his band seems to be making some sort of chapter break or something as they release both a best of-album and a rerelease of the debut album Out in the Cold on the same day. As we receive so much albums and I have so little time to review them all I have gone for reviewing one of these as they are not new albums and by the same artist. I figured this one, the best of was the most suitable to review as it is a remastered version of an album configuration not released before and it is also better than the rerelease of the debut which features one bonus track to make a bit more desirable. Thing is though that I find it bit strange to do this kind of thing now, as here are some numbers on Hartmann: Four studio albums, one live album, the debut album was released eight years ago and the band was formed nine years ago. What is the occasion? I don’t know but I do know that this is what I have and Hartmann is said to be hard at work on their next release.

For those of you who have no idea who Oliver Hartmann, one of the best rock singer out there, is or know anything about his band. I can say that the guy has been sining for At Vance, he has been a frequent guest for Avantasia and many other things, and his own band has a few releases as I stated before. The music they play is melodic rock, hardrock, maybe we can just say AOR which is a genre that is always popular. His songs are built around great vocals and catchy choruses for most parts but with the rather typical AOR variation in the albums. This gathers the best from the previous albums, it does so in sixteen tracks where the ending two are live songs. Other than the live tracks we have stuff from all albums, which aren’t that many meaning that a good percentage of the band’s songs are on this best of album.

Considering that the tracks are from different albums one might suspect that they are quite the fragmented bunch but I think they are rather surprisingly uniform. Maybe Hartmann’s albums are all alike or maybe the remastering work has been looking to create a uniform album, it is quite coherent actually. The only thing that seems somewhat off is the live tracks, those I could do without but they are fairly good so maybe they can stay. The album itself is maybe a bit long but at the same time the variation keeps it interesting through all tracks and all 76 minutes of playing time, which is a good thing. I think we can conclude that the sound is very strong and that the album itself is definitely a good document of Hartmann’s career.

I would say that if you are to buy one album by Hartmann, this is it. Last year’s Balance was very good but this one with an equally dull cover art is definitely better. It has most of what is best on the Balance album and then some more great stuff, definitely and album for you who wants to know Hartmann’s music or just want a great collection of their music to play. I think that this album could have been the only one they should have done, no need for the others if you have this. Excellent piece of music with excellent tracks.

I think Like a River from said album Balance is the standout track on the album, catchy and wonderful but there are more greatness and variation, good balance as well. I think anyone who likes strong, catchy and melodic rock music should look very closely at this album. And if it isn’t enough there are the recent album Balance and the rerelease of the debut to look at as well. And if the title is any indication, next years album will be a real treat. I think this is the best work to date by Hartmann and the only one of their’s you need at this time.



Label: Sonic11/Avenue of Allies/Germusica
Three similar bands: At Vance/Avantasia/Soul Seller
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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