Rock 'N' Swiss Roll

As a country, Switzerland bring forth a number of fantastic things which include: Bank Accounts, Penknives, Cheese, Watches, Chalets and Ski-slope-shenanigans - well, you can now add Hard Rock Bands to that list as Gotthard are without doubt Switzerland's best kept musical secret!

Taking their name from the most famous of the Alpine passes (St Gotthard), Gotthard deal up a favourable dish of Hard Rock that borrows influences from many Stadium rockers like Bon Jovi, Magnum, and Bryan Adams, so it will be of no surprise to hear they've toured with all of these. There is an air of the very early nineties with Gotthard, at the time just before the lyrical depression of Grunge, that was spear headed by the likes of Messers Cobain, Vedder, Cornell, Stanley and Weiland to name but a few.

As the drums kick in with a fast beat, and the quick upbeat riffs flow, first song 'All We Are' prove that there used to be a time when rock was fun, and that catchy music doesn't mean you need to have a skateboard, wear three-quarter length trousers and idolise mini skater-girl Avril Lavigne...

Singer Steve Lee has a strong bluesy rock voice that sounds like Jizzy Pearl, the ex-screamer with such sleazy acts as Love/Hate and LA Guns. This is also a strong indication as to the sound of the band too. Gotthard could quite easily be an LA band playing the Sunset Strip bars, like The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, The Rainbow Bar and Grill and The Cathouse. 'Dream On' could well have been written and recorded by Velvet Revolver, and the catchy ballad of 'Everything I Want' has Def Leppard written all over it - sing-a-long harmonies too.

First single 'Lift 'U' Up' starts with an electric drum beat reminiscent of Marilyn Manson's thunderous anthem 'Disposable Teens', but then Robert Plant-esque vocals kick in and we get a more traditional AC/DC-style rock song. It's foot-stompingly rocktstic!

'I've Seen An Angel Cry' is basically a Bon Jovi song, sung with all the gusto and emotion of the men from New Jersey. 'Stay For The Night' has an 80's rock verse straight from the Top Gun soundtrack but a chorus more reminiscent of The Black Crows, but this works so much better than it sounds. 'Anytime Anywhere' is classic Fastway from their Trick Or Treat soundtrack. I must point out though that Gotthard are by no means a Classic Rock covers band. Indeed they draw upon a vast amount of musical influences, and come up with some great songs that although in style share similarities with said bands, they result in an original outtake on what was a dying genre. This is a breath of fresh air that is long overdue.

Multi-platinum already in Europe and America, and having already released 7 studio albums and 2 'Best of...' albums, Gotthard are slowly becoming a musical force to be reckoned with. Produced by Roland Prent (Rammstein, Manowar, Guano Apes), this record will be released on their very own record label - G Records.

For me this is the best find of the year - and that's not lipservice...