Oliver Hartmann Out In The Cold Frontiers Records
Produced By: Sascha Path & Oliver Hartmann

Running Time: 52.29

Release Date: April 25

Released: EU

Musical Style: Melodic Rock

Links: Frontiers Records
Songs: 94%
Sound: 98%
Sometimes the best surprises come when you don't expect anything. Oliver Hartmann is the acclaimed former vocalist for European hard rockers At Vance and current frontman for prog-metal act Empty Tremor.
As a solo artist his name is untested and I quite honestly did not have any idea what kind of an album Hartmann would deliver.
For the first time in a long time, I would go into an album with absolutely no anticipation nor expectation. 52 minutes later I am a converted Hartmann fan, left blown away by what is simply a joyous and uplifting musical experience. So often albums are held to particular styles, but this is just brilliant, pure melodic rock.
So rarely does an album offer such musical brilliance that I am left with virtually nothing to compare it to.
Oliver Hartmann's debut solo album is mix of moody melodic rock and heartfelt ballads, mixed with a couple of breezy feel good rockers. Every track offers something different and the whole sound of the album is a world away from what he is best known for.
I think this will be a big favourite amongst AOR and melodic rock lovers and will establish Oliver's name as a class songwriter and performer of his own credentials.
I love an album that is driven purely by the craft of great songwriting and that aspect along with Hartmann's powerful, yet accessible vocals is what makes this album so good.
If forced to draw a comparison, I refer to Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin and his moody solo release Back Where I Belong, which saw that singer pull things back a notch or two to concentrate on some fine soft rock tunes.
Out In The Cold sounds like a million bucks. Produced by Sascha Path and Oliver, not one single note is out of place. Well placed harmony vocals add extra texture and impact to the already powerful choruses and string arrangements throughout give the album an amazing intensity.
Track By Track:
Opening the album is the uptempo rocker Alive Again, a track which is one of the more powerful of the album, driven by Hartmann's own guitar playing. The chorus is instantly catchy, showcasing the range in Hartmann's voice, with some fine backing vocals adding impact.
The angst ridden rock ballad Out In The Cold follows, with a burst of strings bravely offering the opening notes. Another musical burst, in the form of guitars gives way to an acoustic driven verse, which in turns leads to a full band chorus which is backed with more strings and a moody, emotional and powerful vocal.
Brazen starts with an acoustic guitar and features another highly passionate vocal. There is some real angst wrapped up in the lyrics and the delivery of this album. The songs builds to one of the most passionate choruses I've heard in many moons. The track builds intensity as it goes and the last minute of the song is something to behold.
The Same Again is an uptempo rocker with attitude and a definite sense of anger surrounding it. The aggressive chorus gives the listener no reason to doubt!
I Will Carry On is an utterly brilliant ballad, backing with soaring vocals and even more string arrangements. The vocals are just perfect that hint of raspiness, mixed with a strong soulful feel. And is that bagpipes I hear, or just a synth?
Every song is a winner on this album, but none more than the uptempo, pure melodic rock anthem of What If I. This joyous, uptempo melodic rocker with huge harmony vocals has a chorus which catapults the song into major contention for Song Of The Year. And what about that vocal in the last seconds of the song?
How Long is a more straight ahead hard rocker, with a more restrained chorus, but an enjoyable beat.
The Journey is the second proper ballad of the album, and is another great sentimental track, with a soft vocal that guides the song along. The chorus takes some time to appear, but works well in context with the song.
The tempo and style changes a little with, Who Do You Think That You Are, which has one of the toughest guitar riffs of the album. This is a dark, moody and quite heavy mid-tempo rock track with an aggressive heart.
Listen To Your Heart heads back into the uptempo feel good, melodic rock n roll vibe of the opening track and What If I. This is pure melodic rock and yet again features another great chorus that makes it an album highlight.
Can You Tell Me Where Love Has Gone is a mid-tempo moody rock track with a big chorus and some fine harmony vocals.
One of the best tracks on this already classic album is Into The Light. It's the perfect way to close the album. This 6 minute epic ballad is as haunting as it is beautiful and the melodies throughout send shivers up your spine. The extra orchestration and the glorious backing vocals make this yet another example of songwriting genius. And oh man, what a finish to the song.
The Bottom Line
I just love Hartmann's voice on this album. This is a very special release indeed and deserves to be checked out by every reader of this site. Some fantastic songs are made even better by an amazing performance and the album has a tangible energy. Forget everything he has ever done in the past, Oliver Hartmann is now an authentic solo star and this debut will make waves in many quarters and I already expect it to feature strongly in many end of year Best Of lists. Essential!
Out In The Cold

Line Up
Oliver Hartmann: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Bodo Schopf: Drums
Armin Donderer: Bass
Jurgen Wust: Keyboards
Miro Rondenberg: Strings Arrnagements

Essential for fans of:
Powerful, emotional melodic rock
Tony Martin - Back Where I Belong
Track Listing
Alive Again*
Out In The Cold*
The Same Again
I Will Carry On*
What If I*
How Long
The Journey
Who Do You Think That You Are
Listen To Your Heart*
Can You Tell Me Where Love Has Gone
Into The Light*
--*Best Tracks

21/07/06: Mike the Conqouror -
Rating: 88
Very good debute. Best tracks are: Brazen & What If I. Tapers off a little in the second 1/2 of the cd. A lot of vocal hooks, but could have used a few more guitar hooks.

01/12/05: Isra-hell -
Rating: 90
Nobody cares from what country this guy or the band is,
all we care is the music........and this is megaincredible. :D

what if i....What I......WHAT IF I.........

the ending of that song is worth an accident (nearly had one for speeding with my car) ..LOL

MUST BUY! (every song is awesome, no fillers)

08/11/05: LEE F -
Rating: 99

01/11/05: Axe Machine -
Rating: 93
Brazen and What If I are truly top class AOR tunes. This album ranks up there with the likes of Blanc Faces and Blue Tears for top AOR album of the year so far. Cant reccommend this highly enuff for fans of straight ahead Melodic Rock.

03/10/05: Dave Mayer -
Rating: 45
This really is the big problem for me with the AOR/mel.rock scene these days!!! This is, I'm afraid just more of the same that we've all seen and heard before (and done so much better than this) I just can't get my head around these comments saying how good this album is!!!! You want to listen to good, then listen to Bad English, The Storm, Foriegner 4, Journey (take your pick!!), Diving For Pearls, Survivor, 1st Asia, Whitesnake 1987, Ten debut, FM, Night Ranger,Giant, Winger etc etc etc. So many of todays albums are just pale imitations of what I've listed above. I have played this album over a couple of days now but didn't find myself remembering any of the songs that I'd listened to, surely the sign of a mediocre album. All the songs are just so damned predictable, same old chords, same old chord changes, same old ballads, same old heavy tracks, same old tired lyric structures...verse, chorus, verse, chorus, same old keyboards, same old Neil Schon solo imitations,even the same track layout...a rocker to open then a more melodic one then the big ballad!!!!I honestly can't remember the last album from the genre that really caught my imagination (maybe Shadowman or the 101 South debut) and here lies the problem, the labels just keep turning stuff out that is so sub-standard and just sound alike re-hashes of the real classics making people (customers!!!) become uninterested. I have been an avid AOR/M.R. fan since the eighties...I remember buying Escape/Frontiers/Diving for Pearls when they came out but over the past three or four years have found myself listening more to the likes of Train, Matchbox 20,James Blunt,Athlete, Dishwalla (check out Opaline for some simply stunning melodic rock with a modern twist)and getting more and more disillusioned with the AOR/M.R genre. I think that the main players in the genre including the labels should focus more on quality and originality rather than quantity. I really want to hear some great AOR again but if these albums are the best available then sadly I think that it's time to move on and to leave it in the past....shame.

03/07/05: Heppy -
Rating: 98
What can i say, a gem, a peach, the best album this year so far and will take some beating. If you dont go out and buy this album now then your aff yer heed.

28/06/05: Almir Fuschini -
Rating: 95
Simply excellent!
I have no words to explain why I can't stop to listen to this cd in my car. And I can't believe I waited so long to get it.
After listening some songs in the "New Melodicrock Radio" the songs from this guy caught my attention, despite the fact that there's no artist name, just music and album.

But one thing is for sure: The song "Out in the Cold" got to be one of the best of this year.
Amazing album.
Buy it and buy it now!

27/05/05: Michael Manning -
Rating: 98
OH MY GOD... Amazing. A cd that bypasses the brain and goes to the heart and soul. His choice to cover Skunk Anansie's "Brazen" absolute brilliance. That song just chills me. The best melodic rock album released so far this year. The reason a 98 and not 100...a couple songs have that clicky clack synth drum intro. That is digging pretty deep for flaws but that sound makes me cringe.

23/05/05: Melodic Rocker -
Rating: 95
This, like nearly everyone else, is both surprising and stunning. The first thing that hits me most about this album is it has a mature vibe to it. It could be his voice, the music, or the lyrical content, or simply all the above combined, but whatever it is this album deserves to be heard. I lean more to his vocals. His voice conjures command that lends a unique sound to this genre of music. I hope people read what melodicrock, these other people, and myself are saying and buy this mans record - not just download it. He deserves to make some money off this release.

22/05/05: Bram -
Rating: 90
Big surpise. Fantastic album from a fantastic singer.
A lot of nice and excellent melodic rock.
Well done!!!

19/05/05: Aitor - hellaitor@hotmail
Rating: 96
One of the surprises of the year!!!!!!!
I liked him in At Vance, but the band........let's say that At Vance was a 2nd division power metal band, some great songs but not at the same league as Edguy, for example.
I didn't expect a lot in this album, but after reading different reviews and downloading a couple of songs, my idea changed and I went straight to the shop.
One of the albums of the year

19/05/05: Jeffrey Foy -
Rating: 100
This album contains some real hidden gems, it just has to be bought. EXCELLENT!!

19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 89
What a big and pleasant surprise this one is !
Never expected such a quality record from mr. Hartmann !
Melodic rock in the true sense of the word !
You all know my fascination and admiration for US and canadian acts, but this has the same quality !

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100)