5/18/2012 - Review by: Eric Compton
Unisonic--the super group formed by Dennis Ward, Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske and the first recording to feature both Hansen and Kiske since 1988's "Keeper Of The Seven Keys 2". Those of you unfamiliar with swords and sorcery metal...Kiske fronted Helloween for a number of years before abandoning metal all together. Kai Hansen was the guitarist for Helloween and left to form his own band in the long standing Gamma Ray (a supergroup in their own right). Dennis Ward is a world class producer and bassist for Pink Cream 69 among other projects. Unisonic is rounded out by drummer Kosta Zafiriou (PC69, D.C. Cooper) and guitarist Mandy Meyer (ex-Krokus).
The band formed in 2009 after Zafiriou, Ward and Kiske recorded "Streets Of Fire" as Place Vendome. The band released a "teaser" EP called "Ignition" earlier this year and the whole thing has been much talked about with critical reception being very strong after the effective EP. The full length was recorded all over Germany, Belgium and even mastered in New York (of all places). It just has EPIC and HISTORICAL and "LORD OF THE RINGS" written all over it, doesn't it?
Unfortunately the whole thing stinks to high Heaven.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of all musicians involved. I was climbing the "Walls Of Jericho" with Helloween back in the day, love Ward and his work with PC69 and I've been a huge follower of Gamma Ray over the years/decades. I was really hoping for great things considering the "Ignition" EP featured such a strong "CLASSIC" metal staple in "Unisonic", featured here as track number uno. Beyond that song this whole album is draped in Prozac and Valium and left me in dire need of a pillow, blankie or even a throw rug.
Beyond the excellent and aforementioned "Unisonic" opener this album falls to pieces fast. The only mid-tempo tracks on the thing are "King For A Day" (effective bass lines and drums) and the decent "We Rise", both of which I might add are tracks 1, 9 and 10, way too strung out to make a good impression. In the middle we have an album that sounds like The Police crossed with the cabaret stylings of Styx. Listen to the disgusting sing along of "Never Too Late" (sounds like Helloween's "Chameleon"), the soft plodding "Star Rider" (like bad Rush?) and the downright pop-inspired "I've Tried".
Kiske sounds okay and the production is spot on...it's just everything else is completely lifeless and lethargic. This is Ward, the rocker who penned some great PC69 cuts with Andi Deris (Helloween frontman), the same Kai Hansen who has stormed the fronts with power metal sensation Gamma Ray. Why do these songs go absolutely nowhere!? It really reminds me of Dokken's anticipated "Long Way Home"...pairing Dokken and John Norum and getting an absolute abysmal album that has that same sleeping pill effect.
Unisonic? Whatever that means it isn't remotely interesting nor even listenable beyond three songs.
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