Review by Brian McGowan
When Jaded Heart started life, they would look in the mirror and see Bon Jovi staring back, such was the band’s transparently wannabe sound. But with frontman Michael Bormann replaced in 2004 by Johann Falberg, and the arrival of Peter Ostros on guitar in 2006, a transformation began. It would seem to culminate in ‘Live In Cologne’. The sound of a rock solid metal band with a now established back catalogue. Confident, convincing, compelling even, densely rhythmic, crackling with energy, swallowing up megavolts like a Tesla Coil, then regurgitating them in the shape of seven outstandingly good metal anthems. Such is the label’s belief in the band, that the CD has been paired with a DVD, crammed with bonus material alongside an ace video recording of the gig.
The band’s sound, a hard to pin down mix of hard rock and power metal, has that elusive ability to pick out the best of both genres and merge them together into an attractively cohesive whole. No downtuned guitars, no calculated feedback, no processed vocals, just well written, well performed, honest-to-goodness, hard rockin’ heavy metal (throwing the horns optional).
The picks – if only because live, their hooks dig in a little deeper than the others – are probably the recording’s bookends, ‘Hero’ and ‘With You’. Melodic Metal anthems both, deceptively simple, relentlessly direct, welling up like oil fires, spilling out into triumphal choruses.
Apart from the Cologne gig, the DVD includes footage of the band’s 2013 tour of Japan, plus a tour report “in their own words” which reveals nothing new, but charmingly shows the band trying hard to hide their polished professionalism and keen ambition behind an off hand, blokish humour. Add in a couple of previously ‘Japan Only’ video releases of ‘Your Soul To Keep’ and ‘Watching You Break’, and we have the complete package. If only all minor labels were so imaginative.
8 out of 10
- Saints Denied
- Run And Hide
- Fly Away
- Life Is Beautiful
- Justice Is Deserved
- With You