Review: Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard – Power To Win
RMB Records (October 10th, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Michael Bormann is back with his sarcastically named band Jaded Hard. I’ve been following Michael’s career for several decades and when he left his former band Jaded Heart in 2004, the band continued on but was never the same. Unlike a band like Dynazty, who successfully progressed from Hard Rock to Power Metal, Jaded Heart’s attempt at a heavier sound was not as solid as their past material. Mr. Bormann then decided to carry the melodic sound of his former band forward to his new band, who released their debut album back in 2019. If you liked what came before, then you are in for a treat once again.
There are some fabulous tracks on offer here. Album opener ‘Nothing But a Photograph’ starts off slow and moody before kicking into double time gear and delivering solid melodic goodness with those rich, harmonic overdubs that Mr. Bormann is known for. ‘Little White Lies’ has that classic Jaded Heart sound that I use to look forward to with every one of their old releases. Solid melodies with soaring choruses.
The late Jimi Jamison once sang “It’s The Singer, Not The Song”. This perfectly encapsulates the ballad ‘Just Wanna Fall In Love’. An old school grandiose power ballad that exudes beauty in its simplicity. Michael sells the song with the passion in his vocals. What would otherwise be a standard by the numbers track becomes something more and it is his best vocal performance on the album. Magnificent.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have ‘Domino’. Not just the best song on this album, but one of the best songs of this year. An unassuming verse gives way to an explosive chorus that kicks your ass! The way Michael screams the title of the song sends chills up my spine. Perfect pitch, power, and layers of vocals makes this one of the best songs he has ever recorded, and he’s recorded a lot of great stuff. The arpeggio over the main riff is the icing on the cake. A flawless rocker.
Atmospheric ‘Wrong and Right’ speaks to me personally as we have a serious problem these days with simply agreeing to disagree with each other. He sings about the tragedy of not respecting each other’s worldview and it’s quite timely and tragically beautiful. The refrain of the word “hysteria” and Michael’s enunciations in the chorus is quite effective.
The album does have a few songs that could have been great, but poor production decisions were made, and those decisions weaken the songs. I was a little let down by the title track. It’s an effective mid-tempo rocker with a Survivor-vibe but the chorus is lacking and a little dry. It sounds like it is missing an instrument in the background of the chorus. If they had added keyboards or even open guitar chords, it would have filled out the sound and made a big difference. I would love to know what happened in the recording of the ride cymbal in the song ‘Heaven’. The ride is loud and upfront during the chorus, louder than every other instrument. The sound produced is like metal utensils being banged against a porcelain plate. It’s so distracting it ruins what would otherwise be a solid sing-along song.
After several playthroughs, I can definitively say that if you loved their last album, then this one certainly matches, maybe even exceeds their prior effort. I will say that the stronger songs are found on the latter half of the album, so if you choose to stream, make sure you listen to every song. All fans of older Jaded Heart should feel grateful that Michael has not given up on the sound that made them so beloved in this genre and that he has blessed us with another winning album.