I was a little surprised to realise that this is the fifth Hartmann album I have in my collection, and yet again Oliver has done exactly what I expect of him by now, namely producing an album containing immaculate vocals, with a depth and breadth that is often sadly missing from this style of music, while there is still that edge to every song. They are commercial and radio-friendly yet still maintain the power and authenticity that one demands from music without it being overtaken by the sappiness that some melodic rockers feel that they need. The guys have built a reputation as an outstanding live band and has been called to tour with rock legends as Toto, The Hooters, Uriah Heep, Edguy, Mother’s Finest, Y&T and others, and this comes through in the music which definitely sounds as if it is ready for the band to take on to the stage.
This is hard melodic rock, no room here for over the top sugariness, but commerciality that is grounded in a band that can trace its influences from bands such as Bad Company, and then bringing that right up to date. The production is strong, musicianship spot on, hooks aplenty, the vocals are full of depth and breadth, while the guitars haven’t been sanitised out of existence. This is yet another incredibly solid and enjoyable album from Hartmann, well worth investigation if this is your style of music.
– Kev Rowland
Somerville has written and recorded with bands such as After Forever, Edguy, Kamelot, Epica, Avantasia, and Mayan, and this is her second release as Trillium. ‘Alloy’ was released in 2011 when it was credited to just Trillium, so it appears that there are views somewhere that she needs to be pushed more to the fore, yet keep a link to the last album. Either way, whenever I see a band name extended with the name of a member I do ask, why bother? Anyway, there is no doubt that Amanda has an amazing voice, and it is no surprise that she has appeared on other people’s albums as well. She is a strong alto, which allows her to go sing in a slightly lower register than many other female singers, with power and control, yet still hit higher notes when the need arises without going to the very heights of sopranos.
It may have been seven years since her last solo album, but as well as being in demand in the symphonic metal world she has also got married and had a baby, so life has been rather full on. Musically this is a symphonic metal album, which to be honest doesn’t really stand out too much from many of the other albums around, but what makes the real difference are Amanda’s vocals which are direct, and contain such incredible power that it cuts through like a hot knife. The album has been designed as a vehicle for her voice, so even though the songs aren’t as rich and as expressive as I would wish them to be, the album is still far superior to what it would be with many other singers. Perhaps her forte does lie with other bands, such as the mighty Kamelot or Epica, but fans of the genre should still try and hear this at least.