Published on October 1st, 2019 | by Justin G.
CoreLeoni: II (AFM, 2019)
Much to my delight, last year’s CoreLeoni album (The Greatest Hits Part I) wasn’t just a one-off project for Gotthard guitarist Leo Leoni. He’s back, along with Gotthard bandmate Hena Habegger on drums, guitarist Jgor Gianola (UDO, Jorn) and vocalist Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, The Ferrymen). The new CoreLeoni album is simply titled II, and it picks up right where The Greatest Hits Part I left off.
The idea behind CoreLeoni was to revisit some early Gotthard songs, both hits and deep cuts, and that’s what they do again on II. This time around though, we get a couple of brand new songs to go with nine Gotthard gems. CoreLeoni captures the magic of those classic Gotthard albums perfectly here, thanks in no small part to Ronnie Romero’s vocal performance. He’s always been a bit of a chameleon, covering the likes of Jorn and Ronnie James Dio quite effectively, but there are times on II that you’d swear you were listening to the late Steve Lee. See “Mountain Mama” or “Travellin’ Man.” That classic energy carries right into the new songs – “Queen Of Hearts” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong” – which are more satisfying by themselves than the last couple of Gotthard albums.
II is another extremely enjoyable outing from Leoni and company, and is every bit as much fun as the first CoreLeoni release. At this point it’s time to admit the obvious: Ronnie Romero should be the new vocalist for Gotthard. He’s absolutely killing it here and would do the band’s legacy justice.
Summary: Best Gotthard album in ages