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Review: Hartmann - III

Label: Sonic 11 Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 49:38
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal


Review online: May 12, 2010
Reviewed by: Lior "Steinmetal" Stein
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Rated 5/5 (100%) (1 Vote)

Oliver Hartmann, one time lead singer of Power Metal band At Vance, has released his third solo record, III. Starting with his first solo effort, Out in the Cold, Hartmann started to step away from metal and into a more Hard Rock/AOR style of music, and that continues on III.

As it turns out, III is the least heavy of Hartmann's catalog, which includes the album Home, his second album. It is "radio friendly" with Hartmann showing some a real emotional quality in his voice. The production sounds great, thanks to veteran producer/ex-Heaven's Gate guitarist Sascha Paeth.

Unfortunately, as his albums have started to travel the road less metal, Hartmann finds himself in an awkward position. Only on the stronger tracks like "Broken Down," "From Outta Space," or the duet with Tobias Sammet, "Brothers," can we hear the "old" Oliver, the man that was once one of the of the greatest metal singers in Europe. On many of the other tracks on III, Hartmann seems to have lost his passion, making much of III sound very generic. That goes for the songwriting as well as the performances.

Make no mistake, Hartmann hasn't lost his voice, however, the excitement in his voice, from earlier days, is very much subdued on III. There are some fine moments in "I Won't Get Fooled again," "All I Can Say," "Forgotten Innocence" and "Don't Give Up Your Dream" so this is still an album worth hearing. As a fan of the guy, I wasn't expecting what I heard on III. Still, if you are a fan of the softer side of Hard Rock, you can look forward to III.

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