The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Need to Believe


I first heard Gotthard many years ago on a K-Tel Switzerland compilation that I picked up at a cheap CD store in Bangkok for about a dollar. The ‘Finest of Hard Rock’ compilations were pretty cool, containing a mix of old classics, together with some newer European bands. Gotthard sounded promising but it was hard to track down their records outside Europe. Many years later Gotthard are still at it. Legends in their native Switzerland and some parts of Europe, but never getting that illusive big break they probably deserve.

The album opens up with a big Eastern-flavoured track ‘Shangri-La’. It is a majestic opener, the sound a little clichéd, but melodic and driving in a good way. ‘Unspoken Words’ that follows has a more modern sound, somewhat symphonic and uplifting. It’s a great start to the CD.

The pace slows a little with ‘Unspoken Words’ and you start to realise that there is something very honest about this album. It’s good old fashioned rock the way it should be, very Whitesnake in sound and feel, but in places taking you even further back in time. There’s a certain amount of gloss but no over-production, just straightforward melodic rock with great backing vocals, which are almost Beatle-esque at times, and melodies, bags of great melodies.

‘Unconditional Faith’ is another slightly slower song but captures the mood of the album well; it’s a clean solid song but not one of the best on offer. ‘I Don’t Mind’ takes us back to the early eighties, it’s a good driving boogie-rocker, nice soloing and very unpretentious. ‘Break away’ is in a similar vein, like the 90’s and 00’s never happened with a slight gospel-tinge to the backing vocals but a driving riff. But the music never gets too heavy. If the album could do with one thing it’s a little more unbridled passion, a little more raw energy. Something to stir things up a little maybe? I know they can do it, but unfortunately they choose not to.

‘Don’t Let Me Know’ is the ballad. Nice song, but not the best ballads for a band that have been known for recording some classics over the years. ‘Right From Wrong’ is harder driven by bass and made for a sing-along. ‘I know You Know’ largely passed me by but there’s nothing really bad on the album, just songs that need that little lift.

Just when you feel that little pang of disappointment comes ‘Rebel Soul’ one of my favourites on the CD. Again it’s bass driven, but this one soars that bit higher with some lovely guitar. This is a bit more in keeping with what they achieved on their last album ‘Domino Effect’ which is probably my pick of their recent releases. Closing the album comes another slow one ‘Tears to Cry’ is a good one, great vocals, it’s the better of the two slower numbers. The bonus track ‘Ain’t Enough’ closes proceedings , kicking off with a familiar sounding riff, again it’s solid, classic Gotthard.

Whilst ‘Need to Believe’ is a good album, it just needs that something more. Gotthard fans will be impressed, fans of melodic rock will be happy, but their 9th release feels like a safe option. As I said earlier just a hint of dirt would have added just a little more to the flavour.