February 15, 2020

No prizes for guessing that this is the second album by CoreLeoni, a project with its debut release on the Frontiers but now switched to AFM Records. CoreLeoni is the name chosen by guitarist and founder of the Swiss heavy rock band Gotthard, Leo Leoni to showcase his love of the heavy rock music of the ’70s and ’80s featuring amazing solos, huge choruses and vocals to die for. The core plan – if you pardon the pun – was to re-look at the back catalogue of Gotthard and re-record some of the tracks with modern techniques and new musicians and this worked so well on the intriguingly titled first album, The Greatest Hits Part 1, that he has decided to continue with the project.

Leoni has kept the same concept for this album with Gotthard tracks again getting the new treatment but there are a couple of new tracks on the standard release and a couple of extra songs on the special edition including a cover of the John Lee Hooker track Boom, Boom Boom. Leoni has kept the same team together from the debut album with vocalist Ronnie Romero returning which is a nice touch given that his profile has increased exponentially after being chosen by Ritchie Blackmore to be the new voice of Rainbow and again he shows on this album just why he is held in such high regard. Mila Merker (Souline) continues on bass with Hena Habegger (Gotthard) on drums and Jgor Gianola (ex-Gotthard/U.D.O./Jorn Lande) on guitar. The tracks on the album, all Gotthard covers unless otherwise mentioned, are  Waltz No. 2 an 40-second Shostakovich intro then Standing In The Light, Love For Money, Open Fire,  Angel, She Goes Down, No Tomorrow, I’m Your Travellin’ Man, Make My Day, Mountain Mama, Queen Of Hearts (new track),  Don’t Get Me Wrong (new track) and the album closes with a short closer,  Il Padrino which is the Godfather theme and they also used the same song as the album opener on the first album. I wonder if this is the subtle way to say that this closes this project concept. The new songs work well and fit in very easily with the rest of the album and immediately sound like new friends. All songs are given the Deep Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake treatment and are delivered in true melodic rock style. Romero is proving himself to be one of the great voices in rock and Leo Leoni is peerless on guitar and both are most ably supported by the other members of the band.

Fans of Gotthard will enjoy the different takes on what is well known material to them and, to any others, this album will come across as a fully formed melodic rock album with great songs and perfect delivery, high recommended.