Why isn’t GOTTHARD bigger in America than they are? And I’m talking Journey big, by the way. And why isn’t their music all over rock radio? To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, they’re considered the most successful Swiss act ever with eleven number-one records and millions of units sold. Here in the states? Cult status for the most part. Strange indeed.
You’d think with the music industry looking to improve low record sales, that a band like GOTTHARD would have been snatched up and branded the new saviors of rock ‘n’ roll by some greedy, er, saavy, American music exec a long time ago. At the very least, rock radio needs to catch a clue and push a few of these tunes into national airplay now.
Their new release, Defrosted 2, is a 2 CD live acoustic collection of the band’s greatest hits recorded last spring on their “Defrosted” tour. Now, before you lay the smack down on the fact that this is both a live and acoustic record, cool your jets, “Defrosted 2” is a killer effort and certainly on par if not better than its 1997 predecessor, “Defrosted.”
To make a long story short, the band is on fire here. Sonically, GOTTHARD is lean and mean, and the band’s onstage chemistry takes their overall performance next level. After 25 years and a few personnel changes, the band hasn’t lost a step; they’re as good now as the day they started.
Frontman Nic Maeder’s voice is rockin’ perfection. At times, I picked up hints of David Coverdale and Rod Stewart in his singing, while his interaction with the audience reminded me of Ronnie James Dio in terms of his energy, charisma, and rapport. Maeder, for sure, is a top performer who knows how to work a crowd. His infectious personality and stage banter connects with you instantly.
Song highlights include a bit of Deep Purple worship; they do a version of“Hush” and a have super-unique take on “Smoke on the Water,” which I dug a lot. I love it when a band does a cover and makes that song their own, which GOTTHARD pulled off without a hitch. Other standout tunes are “Stay With Me,” “Mountain Mama,” and “Starlight.”
The only acoustic record before Defrosted 2 I liked was Troube’s 2008 disc, Unplugged, which was great. Defrosted 2 gives that a serious run for its money regarding how truly good it is. Live records, let alone acoustic records, are a tough sell. Defrosted 2 isn’t. This is solid, hard rock with GOTTHARD crushing it every step of the way. And yeah, GOTTHARD might just be the new saviors of melodic rock. Defrosted 2 is a must-buy.