Review Summary: The reunion of Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske.
It's been over 20 years since these two godfathers of power metal had collaborated with each other. What ever happened within Helloween internally in their golden years is now all behind them. Even if Kai and Michael never had bad blood against each other, or if they did they learned to forgive and forget. With all of the excitement and optimism of the possibility of the trve Keeper of the Seven Keys, part 3
, Unisonic creates a rather interesting debut, but there's a catch. It's not quite power metal, it ranges from soft to mid-tempo to hard rock. Because it happens to be a rock album, it shows more then meets the eye. Not only are these guys closing in their fifties, they still know how to rock (or metal, if you please), but Unisonic
is either a precursor for Gamma Ray, or as simple as it comes – a rock n' roll effort that's meant just for fun.
Right from the get-go, the album starts off with the self-titled song. It becomes an instant hit with some of the fastest playing off of the entire album, as well as powerful vocals that give me the impression that Kiske is wearing a ten gallon hat, and an awesome collection of guitar work from yours truly, Kai Hansen and Mandy Meyers. While the proceeding song Souls Alive
follows the hard rock style present on the self-titled album opener, but it shows an unexpected turn with a down tone of the speed within the tempo. It may not be that noticeable with the tempo difference, but it's noticeable enough.
Other songs like Never Too Late
, or any other song after Souls Alive
for that matter, show a drastic slow down in the music which could get Gamma Ray fans nervous if Kai Hansen decides to tone down the speed in future releases. Even though Kai Hansen did write less than half of the album, it still can get nerve-racking even with his participation being present. And the surprising factor of the album was already mentioned – Kai Hansen didn't even write half of the album. It's funny because anyone's assumption about Unisonic is that it's Kiske's and Hansen's band, but Kiske has never been a great song writer, he's more-or-less a simple tool with a wonderful voice. Instead it turns out to be the bass player and other the guitarist being the main show of the band when it comes to song writing. Even though the song structures are very simple, the album turns out to be worth the listen, regardless of Hansen and Kiske being “in the background”. Unisonic's sound respectively resides mainly with Mandy Meyers (guitar) and Dennis Ward (bass). It's a trade-off factor with the main figure heads of the band being the star attention with not as much contributions that's expected from them, while the other guys are beckoning their talent as song writers.
Only until a little after the middle of the album does it show some resemblance of going back to the hard rock sound with Renegade
. Then the proceeding song My Sanctuary
, bursts out as the anthem of the album after the first chorus being heard; it's a really good song. The song also runs in the same vein as the first two songs. But after My Sanctuary
, the album slows down again and ultimately ends with a ballad. Not an impressive album closer, but I've heard a lot better and a lot horrid endings.
My Final Verdict:
Overall, Unisonic, both the band and album, are quite enjoyable none-the-less. They don't exactly have groundbreaking songs, but for the most part the album is a bit on the poppy side for rock n' roll. While the main attention inconceivably goes straight to Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske, and they do give the entire project a jump start with their own participation (even if it isn't that much when it comes to song writing credits). The bulk of the sound goes to the modest bass player Dennis Ward, and the other guitarist who also takes on lead roles other than Kai Hansen, Mandy Meyers. For the sound of the album: it's different and probably won't even be expected for people who are expecting power metal. The complete absence of any power metal influence or characteristic is flabbergasting considering the two stars of the band are power metal legends! To top it all off there's a very small handful of songs that are a bit on the fast side (compared to the rest of the album), while the other significantly large proportion of remaining songs all run in the same style of rock that ranges from soft to mid-tempo. Generally speaking, it's just another album in 2012, not a whole lot has been said from Unisonic, and believe me they can speak if they want.