H.A.R.D. - Even Keel

H.A.R.D. - Even Keel

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(CD, BLP Music, 2011)

Hungarian Hard Rock? Sounds obscure but probably teasing too, if you’re not satisfied with only the commercial names in this field. H.A.R.D. had decided to use their native language in the beginning of their career back in 2005. The “Egi Jel” debut and “100 Hard” 2007 follow-up presented an exotic way of performing ass-spanking boulevard-rollin’ energetic Rock music with songwriting from the heart but also some drawbacks you can imagine: the lyrics’ timbre, the production and the lack of ‘American’ sensation. “Traveler” (2008) and “Time Is Waiting For No One” (2010) showed sufficient progress in the above sectors making the band more conscious for what they are capable of. The latter one included a major lineup changes, with Swedish veteran singer Bjorn Lodin (SIX FEET UNDER, BALTIMOORE) taking command of the lead vocals; a new way was paved and now “Even Keel” could certainly be described as the band’s first crucial turn.

I like the fact that I listen to a commercial Hard Rock album by a band from an ‘obscure’ country. This primarily means the production is not made in a polished pattern portraying a personal sound, plus the instruments and voice – yes, I know it’s a Swed’s throat – are not 100% made in the USA or Great Britain or any other ‘known’ land. The songs have personality even if they are heavily influenced by major acts of the guitar-driven hardrockin’ scene. Take some of WHITESNAKE, put a slice of Joe Satriani or Eddie Van Halen in the amps and add a portion of heavyhittin’ boulevard Rock (from e.g. MOTLEY CRUE to CINDERELLA) and wrap up with an AC/DC-ish or HARDCORE SUPERSTAR-isque rhythm section and... there you are. Some parts could smartly lean towards a melodic Metal path too (e.g. “Scream To Be Heard”) but predominant moments are anyway in the Hard Rock lane – ballads included, yeap.

“Even Keel” surely draws inspiration from the glorious ‘87-’91 years in its music cooking; it sounds quite fresh too, I think. Songs like “Promises” are more European in their blend, with a dominating lead melody, and cuts like “Bitten By You” or “Keep Out” show their American or British or Scandinavian or call-it-what-you-like teeth. All these sum it up to a strong solid effort by this Hungarian clan, making H.A.R.D. a band you should not really miss if you like this extra sauce in your heavyhittin’ smokesleazin’ music. I read somewhere they have recently opened or will soon open for KISS and I imagine fellow legends like SCORPIONS or WHITESNAKE would like to add this band as a support act on a future gig.

7/10


Links:

www.HardHungary.Com
www.MySpace.Com/HardHungary


Tracklist:

01. Truth Or Dare
02. Bitten By You
03. Pretty Little Liar
04. Promises
05. I Wanna Rock You
06. Speeding Into Slow
07. Somewhere
08. Keep Out
09. Scream Out To Be Heard
10. In Your Arms


Lineup:

Björn Lodin - Vocals
Gábor Mirkovics - Bass
Zsolt Vámos - Guitar
Zsolt BorbéLy - Drums