ALBUM REVIEW: Night Laser – Call Me What You Want

As a surprise to literally nobody familiar with them, it’s all change once again for German glam act Night Laser. Four full-length studio releases with four different line-ups, the only two constants within the band are founding members singer Benno Hankers and his brother, bassist Robert. Also, having presented as both a trio and a quartet since their inception in 2014, the band has grown with another member for this current iteration, switching up to become a five-piece for latest album, Call Me What You Want (Steamhammer/SPV).

A good-time band with songs like “Party On,” “Prime Minister Of Rock And Roll” and “Chaos Crew” to their name, the Hamburg-based sleaze artists have gone down a more serious route for their latest offering, losing some of their hard drinking, fast cars and faster women charm but becoming more versatile and mature in the process.

Kicking off with a fully fledged drum intro from new sticksman Ingemar Oswald, “Bittersweet Dreams” hits the ground running before being joined by a rolling bassline, a fast-paced riff and classic “hey!” gang vocals. Settling into a steady pace, the song boasts the first of many memorable choruses, Benno drawing all the attention to himself during the verses, ably supported by the new twin axe attack of Felipe Zapata Martinez and Vincent Hadeler.

The uptempo “Way To The Thrill” recalls classic eighties Mötley Crüe, hairspray-era Saxon and a splash of Helloween and Gamma Ray, the addictive track boasting even more high quality shredding. “No More Changes” is a good old-fashioned Hard Rock stomp reminiscent of Dio circa Last In Line/Sacred Heart while “Don’t Call Me Hero” is all moody riffs and an Accept-style chorus.

“Law Of The Vulture’” straddles traditional glam and European Power Metal while pausing for a sensational bluesy solo before its rousing climax. “Laser Train” challenges you not to bang your head to its classic feel-good heavy rock while “Travelers In Time” takes you on a journey to the land of the power ballad.

The moody “Captain Punishment” finds Benno’s throat coated with gravel as he screams for all his worth before closing cut “Fiddler On The Roof” moves from Accept-style balladry to slow, crawling melancholy and Iron Maiden gallops with more nods to Helloween. Clocking in at just over nine minutes, it might run a little long, but you certainly can’t deny the ambition. Bonus tracks arrive in the form of the excellent “Thin Ice” and the utterly bizarre “Über-Alman.” Who knew that German language country music was even a thing? Apart from Germans, obviously.

Well-produced and confidently performed, Call Me What You Want might find the band casting off some of the more lightweight aspects of their sound, but the high-volume energy is still there in abundance.


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8 / 10