Scott W introduced me to Unisonic last week with their recently released self-titled debut. They are a new band, but certainly are not new, unknown musicians – Michael Kiske from Helloween on vocals, Kai Hansen from Helloween/Gamma Ray on guitar, the rhythm section consisting of members of Pink Cream 69 and DC Cooper, and a guitarist who has played in Krokus. A solid power metal line up, but begging the question – does bringing together some “superstars” of metal always result in a quality product? The answer is sometimes no (Adrenaline Mob).
Unisonic are labeled as a melodic power metal / hard rock band, and this is exactly what the album delivers. There are elements of both genres throughout the album, but often the hard rock part is more prevalent in the music than is the power metal. If you come into this expecting a Helloween/Gamma Ray combination clone, you will be disappointed. The band recognizes in their bio that this project may be considered an “all star” effort, but are clear that this is truly a band. There isn’t much speed nor are there a lot of “metal” riffs to be found. The first couple of songs do come across solidly in the power metal vein, opening song Unisonic and Souls Alive. Hansen definitely delivers some nice soloing on the title track. Never Too Late is a lighter offering, almost evoking a 1950s rock & roll melody, particularly on the chorus. I’ve Tried is a decent, if not too memorable track. Starrider is a slower paced metal/hard rock song – not too bad at all. Never Change Me is hair metal worship at its best (worst?). I thought I was listening to something from the 80s, especially in the chorus. Renegade starts off with driving riffing (far too brief) and morphs into a slower paced hard rock tune. Nice riff and sporadic trade-off soloing in parts of the track. Next is My Sanctuary – more hard rocking from the band and some more tasty guitar solos. King for a Day is reminiscent again of 1980s hard rock – although sort of a forgettable track until it kicks into gear for the solo section. We Rise has some nice guitar work throughout, galloping in places, straight ahead riffing in others. The chorus is a bit weak, though. Yet once again some really nice soloing by both guitarists. The album wraps up with the ballad No One Ever Sees Me. It is an emotional track, but not how I really expected the proper album to end. I said “proper” because the actual last track is a live rendition of I Want Out, originally done by Helloween on Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part II. I think they have performed this one faithfully, not too awfully difficult considering that Kiske and Hansen were the original singer & guitarist. I guess somewhat of a tribute to their past.
Song Unisonic, from the album Unisonic, by the band Unisonic (I think I see a trend here!).
I would not say this is a groundbreaking album, nor is it one that is going to rocket to the top of my playlist any time soon. It is, however, a solid hard rock album with some bits of metal thrown in here and there. All in all not too bad. Get it if you are a fan of 80s hard rock or of Kai Hansen’s guitar work.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.