ReviewsNight Laser – Call Me What You Want (Steamhammer / SPV)

Night Laser – Call Me What You Want (Steamhammer / SPV)

While the combination of sleaze rock and heavy metal may not be reaching multi-million sales or arena-level capacity status like the 80s to early 90s, there’s still a fervent interest in these styles thanks to the success of current acts like Hardcore Superstar, Kissin’ Dynamite, and many more offshoots. Hamburg, Germany is home to another promising artist with Night Laser – on the scene since the 2010’s releasing three previous albums through DIY/smaller label means. Gaining three new members in 2021-22 with guitarists Felipe Zapata Martinez and Vincent Hadeler plus drummer Ingemar Oswald, Call Me What You Want could make a bigger footprint globally thanks to signing with Steamhammer/SPV, as the quintet chose to execute an open teamwork policy for the songwriting.

Because of this, these nine main tracks (two bonus cuts for CD owners) showcase a diverse selection of songs that are equally catchy as well as dynamic, chock full of engaging vocals, hard hitting musical hooks, and this energetic atmosphere that’s hard to not get swept up by. The rhythm section of Ingemar and bassist Robert Hankers start “Bittersweet Dreams” in this solid, pumping foundational manner before kicking into second gear through the bouncy riffs and bluesy/sleazy high pitch melodies of Benno Hankers. NWOBHM-like guitar parts chug along seamlessly for “No More Changes” – the gang-oriented vocals punctuating key phrases for supreme audience engagement, Felipe and Vincent lighting up their fretboards with quick hitting licks to fill out the Saxon-esque, almost “The Power and the Glory”-ish textures. Talk box action next to some sinister 80’s-like keyboard splashes (the latter courtesy of guest Karl Ehbets) gets “Don’t Call Me Hero” into the hard rock arena league of anthems, while the cello / violin passages of Hanna Kuzior and Mei Caramba provide that softer, 60s/early 70s ambiance during the more acoustic-driven ballad “Travelers in Time”. Not content to just hit the listener with radio-friendly outings, the nine-minute plus “Fiddler On the Roof” shifts between power metal glory and epic ballad ambiance, a true testament to these musicians creative versatility.

Produced by Gamma Ray bassist Dirk Schlächter, Call Me What You Want has more of a natural, down and dirty feel where you imagine these songs having no trouble translating properly in small, sweaty club environments or on the larger festival stages that take over summers in Europe. Night Laser could successfully garner followers from both the melodic hard rock and traditional heavy/power metal camps as the talent and abilities are top notch, looking forward to watching the career arc of this five-piece.

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