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After his departure from At Vance, Oliver Hartmann has started to focus on his solo career. Since the departure, he has made some guest appearances to such acts as Aina, Avantasia, Genius Rock Opera, Rhapsody and Dushan Petrossi's Iron Mask. Hartmann's debut album is titled as "Out in the Cold", and it showcases one of the best voices in the new rock scene. Since Hartmann's influences contain a lot of classic rock bands (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Free and Malmsteen to name a few), it isn't too surprising that Hartmann's solo album is melodic rock instead of metal.
Although it's always frustrating to pigeon hole music, as a guide I'd say the music on this album is a blend of British AOR (Dare, for example) and classic rock in the vein of Whitesnake and Rainbow. In addition to Hartmann himself, the line-up consists of famed German musicians such as Bodo Schopf (Michael Schenker Group) on drums and Armin Donderer (Paradox) on bass. Miro Rondenberg brings along the string arrangements adding the atmosphere of the album.
Together with a well-known producer Sascha Paeth (Kamelot, Angra, Rhapsody, Edguy etc.), Oliver Hartmann produced and mixed this album. Since the sounds are solid and strong, there's not much to comment on regarding the production. The mastering has been handled skilfully as well.
Out in the Cold is a timeless melodic rock album with outstanding vocal performances and memorable hooks. Definitely recommended to all listeners of AOR and melodic rock.
Release date: April 25th, 2005
There are samples of "Alive Again", "Out in the Cold", and "Brazen" on the Frontiers website for you to listen.
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- MAGE (April 23rd, 2005)
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