Review Summary: Kiske and Hansen, the long awaited reunion...
When someone hears Helloween, the first thing that will pop-up in their mind is power metal (granted that they aren’t oblivious to the name). That’s because in 1987 and 1988, Helloween had laid the blueprint for the genre with their classic Keeper of the Seven Keys parts 1 and 2. At this time, Helloween had a monster lineup, particularly the amazing voice of Michael Kiske, one that could be compared to the likes of Dickinson or Halford, and the expert guitar skills and penmanship of Kai Hansen.
In 2010, when Kiske’s newly formed band, Unisonic, performed with the massive collaboration of power metal musicians that is Avantasia, they were inadvertently paired with Kai Hansen, and, as Kiske put it, they “instantly felt the magic again”. The Ignition EP marks the debut release of these two working together, and a taste of their first full-length album since 1988.
The highlights of the release are, naturally, Hansen’s guitar riffs and solos, and Kiske’s singing. Any fan will no doubt be ecstatic over the great combination. Hansen makes some catchy and fun guitar harmonies, and Kiske manages to pull-off some killer melodies. However his voice has been noticeably altered in tracks, especially obvious in the first track “Unisonic”. “My Sanctuary” is very reminiscent of Helloween tracks, with the trudging rhythm guitar and extended operatic vocals. The demo version of “Souls Alive” doesn’t sound like much of a demo, and even though it was recorded before Kai joined, still has some great guitar works, and some vocals that rival Ralf Scheepers, further proving that the entire band is very competent.
Though these are great song, they are lacking in originality, as they all seem to try and reinvent Helloween or early '90s Gamma Ray. It's made even more obvious with a live version of the Helloween classic "I Want Out", which comes in as a perhaps unnecessary, but definitely understandable fourth track.
You may wonder what “Unisonic” stands for, and though it’s probably just some cheesy name Kiske thought sounded cool, to us, we can consider it being a “union of sound”, a sound so refreshing and wonderful, the sound of a great vocalist and a great guitarist once again reunited. Ignition is sure to please any Helloween fan.
~Michael Kiske (ex Helloween) - Vocals
~Kai Hansen (ex Helloween / Gamma Ray) -Guitar
~Mandy Meyer (ex Asia, Krokus and Gotthard) - Guitar
~Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) - Bass
~Kosta Zafiriou (Pink Cream 69) - Drums