Published on March 15th, 2018 | by Justin G.
CoreLeoni: The Greatest Hits Part 1 (Frontiers)
I really wanted to hate this album just based on the dumb band name, but given the players involved I had to give it a fair shot. CoreLeoni (seriously, so dumb) was put together by Gotthard guitarist Leo Leoni (and featuring his Gotthard bandmate Hena Habegger on drums) to pay tribute to some lesser known Gotthard songs. Why this wasn’t done by the current Gotthard lineup is anyone’s guess, but the good news is that Leoni turned to Ronnie Romero (Lords of Black, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) to lend his vocal talents to the project.
The project’s debut is called The Greatest Hits Part 1, which is pretty ballsy, and once you get past the Godfather theme, your jaw is going to drop. If you’re familiar with Romero’s work, you know he sounds a lot like the late Ronnie James Dio, but his voice here is eerily similar to Gotthard’s late vocalist Steve Lee. Enough to make you wish he was in the band full-time even. And Leoni wasn’t kidding about revisiting the more obscure Gotthard tracks. Most of what’s on The Greatest Hits Part 1 wouldn’t make the average “best of Gotthard” playlist (well, “Anytime, Anywhere” would make mine), even though they’re all really good songs. They all sound so fresh and vital here though. It feels both new and familiar, and like a long lost Gotthard album.
I can admit when I’m wrong. I didn’t expect much from this project, but ended up loving every minute of it (like Loverboy!). CoreLeoni put a smile on my face that had been absent for the past couple of Gotthard albums. If you’re a Gotthard fan, The Greatest Hits Part 1 is a real delight. I’d love to hear a new collaboration from this lineup.
Summary: Dumb name, great energy