Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hard Riot - Living On A Fast Lane

Hard Riot
Living On A Fast Lane
Pitch Black Records

If there’s one thing missing in today’s music scene its classic hard rock. You know - the kind of rock that’s driven by a riff, a singer that can actually sing and where the music isn’t influenced by anything remotely modern. Sure, there are a few acts out there (Swiss outfit Gotthard and U.S. act Hardline are two that spring immediately to mind), but more often than not, what’s branded as hard rock these days is nothing more than a modern sounding act attempting to mimic the greats of the past (Saliva, Hinder and Nickelback are the best know worst offenders) – without the benefit of understanding what made classic hard rock so great in the first place. But just when I though classic hard rock was all but dead, along came German outfit Hard Riot to prove me well and truly wrong.
Founded in 2006, the Heilbronn based four piece outfit (Comprising of vocalist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst and drummer Carmine Jaucci) released their independently released five track E.P. ‘The Hidden Truth’ in 2009, and coupled with their reputation of putting on live shows, eventually led to a deal with Cyprian based label Pitch Black Records, who have released the band’s debut full-length effort ‘Living On A Fast Lane’.
The album kicks off in rocking fashion with the opening track ‘Get Ready’. Almost immediately, you can hear traces of AC/DC in the band’s construction of simple but effective riffs. But outside of the riffs, it’s the vocals and the guitar solos that really give the song its character. Gildner really is the life and soul of the band’s core sound, with a voice that’s melodic enough to hook people in, but raspy enough to steer away from sounding too slick. And as for the solos, well you can’t complain about a guitarist who knows how to inject a bit of showmanship on the six strings into the heart of the song can you?
‘Hellfire Rock’ is another driving tune with an anthem-like sing-a-long chorus, while ‘Don’t Need You’ (Which originally appeared on the band’s debut E.P.) slows down the pace a little, but is no less rocking with its strong sense of blues sounding groove and hint of funk.
The fast paced ‘No Surrender’ is a definite stand out cut with its infectious chorus, while ‘Turn On The Lights’, the metallic sounding ‘Take Me Down’, the harmonised twin guitar assault of ‘Take Me Down’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw’ are further highlights found throughout the album.
Unfortunately, the album isn’t entirely perfect throughout, with the plodding ‘Tears In The Rain’ (The only other track lifted from their debut E.P.) overstaying its welcome, the ballad ‘Nothing But You’ suffering from a touch too much of Gildner’s German accent coming through (A problem that plagued the Scorpions at times as well), and ‘Black Widow’ a little too blues based to blend seamlessly with the rest of the album.
Despite a couple of tracks that don’t quite cut it, and the awkward title that adorns the album (Did something get lost in the translation?), Hard Riot have produced one killer classic hard rock debut effort.

For more information on Hard Riot, check out – http://www.hard-riot.com/

© Justin Donnelly