4 out of 5 Stars!
After the tragic death of long-time, talented singer Steve Lee in 2010, this band from Switzerland decided to soldier onward, eventually hiring a replacement vocalist named Nic Maeder and releasing Firebirth in 2012, three years after the band’s previous Need To Believe album.
Thankfully, the hiring of Maeder did nothing to alter the band’s varied Hard Rock sound, and I can’t help thinking that Steve Lee is somehow smiling down in approval at his former bandmates since Firebirth continues in the same highly melodic tradition as the group’s previous releases.
“Starlight,” the album’s catchy opening tune, indicated immediately that the band was still in tip-top form. Additional energetic tracks such as “I Can,” “Fight,” “Right On,” “Give Me Real,” and “Yippie Aye Yay,” mixed with mid-tempo ditties such as “The Story’s Over” and “Take It All Back,” as well as the emotional ballads “Tell Me,” “Remember It’s Me,” “Shine,” and the beautiful closer “Where Are You?” make an enjoyable package. Indeed, Firebirth rivals some of Gotthard’s classic albums from the early ’90s as well as a few of the albums that appeared during the latter half of the previous decade.
Gotthard always reminded me of an updated version of groups such as Bad Company and Thunder, but with far less acclaim then I felt it truly deserved. Let’s hope this new era of the band changes that.
Firebirth is rock solid!