Hartmann - Out In The Cold
Frontiers Records
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (52'31)
Release year: 2005
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Ben

This should have been reviewed earlier last year. I even picked this up while I was out on the road and despite listening to it intensely I never got around to writing about this album. Well, better late than never I suppose. Out In The Cold shows former At Vance singer and part time Avantasian Oliver Hartmann stepping out from his previous Power Metal escapades and into the realm of heartfelt hard rock. His smooth and silky voice is a perfect fit for this type of music and I can see this album being welcomed by hard rock aficionados into their collection. Before I comment anymore on the music I must point out that this is a true solo release. Most of the time I see “solo” albums come out where the artist in question seems hardly involved in the release. Allen / Lande is a great cd but neither Rusell Allen or Jorn Lande wrote any of the songs or vocal melodies. Luca Turilli only played the guitar solos on his latest solo outing, someone else laid down all the other guitar parts. Oliver Hartmann on the other hand wrote all but one song by himself and not only sings but plays the guitar and keyboards as well.

I absolutely love the lyrical content on Out In The Cold. While most of the songs deal with personal relationships Oliver has penned colorful words to describe the turmoil with his significant other that can easily be related to by anyone and everyone. What If I? has dreadfully realistic lyrics about him contemplating his boring day to day life and how it feels as if his dreams are passing him by and thinking, “What if I just let all of this go and start again?” This is a notion that almost everybody in existence has contemplated more than one time and it struck home for me. The only song that Hartmann didn’t write, Brazen, is a Skunk Anansie cover of all things yet he turns it into his own. Employing a great falsetto in the chorus this song shows off Hartmann’s tremendous singing ability. Moody, reflective, yet uplifting in it’s own delicate way describes not only this single track but the entire album. For every high flying rock song (Alive Again, What If I?, Listen To Your Heart) there is a ballad or mid tempo number to bring the pace back down and let Oliver pour his heart out to the listener (Out In The Cold, Brazen, The Journey). A solo album is generally a deeply personal affair and that is exactly what Out In The Cold succeeds at being. Fans of lighter styled hard rock in the vein of Journey, Whitesnake, and the like would do well to pick this up.

Killing Songs :
Alive Again, What If I?, Out In The Cold, Listen To Your Heart
Ben quoted 75 / 100
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