Unisonic
UNISONIC

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UNISONIC - Unisonic cover
3.21 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012

Tracklist

1. Unisonic
2. Souls Alive
3. Never Change Me
4. I've Tried
5. Never Too Late
6. Renegade
7. My Sanctuary
8. Star Rider
9. We Rise
10. No One Ever Sees Me

Line-up/Musicians

- Michael Kiske / Vocals
- Kai Hansen / Guitars
- Mandy Meyer / Guitars
- Dennis Ward / Bass
- Kosta Zafiriou / Drums

About this release

Released by earMUSIC/Edel, March 30th, 2012.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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UNISONIC UNISONIC reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

adg211288
Unisonic is the self-titled debut album from the new band to feature the vocal talents of former Helloween frontman Michael Kiske. Kiske founded the band with bassist Dennis Ward (D.C. Cooper, Pink Cream 69, et al). The line-up also features guitarist Mandy Meyer (ex-Krokus), drummer Kosta Zafiriou (D.C. Cooper, ex-Pink Cream 69) and perhaps most notably considering his prior association with Kiske, power metal legend Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween, ex-Iron Savior) on guitars. The term supergroup is very much appropriate when regarding Unisonic in other words.

Although one might expect Unisonic to be rooted firmly in power metal territory considering Kiske and Hansen’s backgrounds this isn’t the case. Nor apparently is it intended to be. There’s very little power metal to be found here and the band have actually said in interviews that Unisonic isn’t a metal band. Well the music on their debut tells a little bit of a different story to what Unisonic have said, actually treading the fine line between hard rock and traditional heavy metal.

And really it’s a nice enough album. I’m sure fans of Kiske’s vocals are going to be happy with it for the most part, because the man hasn’t lost anything in the time between this and the Helloween days. However musically we aren’t talking an album that is exactly revolutionary or I dare say one that stands up to Kiske and Hansen’s best works. I can’t factor in how Unisonic compares to the other three members back catalogues, because I lack any sort of familiarity with any of them, although since we’re talking the compositional front, it’s less Kiske on the line and more Hansen and Ward, who wrote the majority of the album. I’m can’t speak for Ward, but Hansen has written infinitely better songs for both Helloween and Gamma Ray.

Still, it’s not a bad release at all that Unisonic have crafted here, but I can’t help shake the feeling that its biggest appeal lies in the nostalgia that the reunion of Kiske and Hansen will bring for long-time fans of Helloween, even though the music is in a somewhat different style to the power metal of the two Keeper of the Seven Keys albums. I have to be fair, it brings to mind more aspects of Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon than Keepers. I can’t shake the feeling that if this album were released anonymously or with unknowns then it would mostly go completely under the radar, not because it’s inherently bad or anything, it’s really not, but it’s not exactly remarkable either. Few songs really stand out in any way other than Kiske’s vocals. The best of the bunch would easily be the first two, a self-titled track and Souls Alive. After that it’s very much a more of the same record from start to finish, offering up little in the way of surprise or variety. The pace of the tracks may change but that’s really about it.

However there are enough merits, especially vocally, that saying it’s a fans only release would be harsh. There is a fair bit of potential for Unisonic to make something to rival Helloween and Gamma Ray’s best works. After all they have the voice and the composer to make it happen, although as with Gamma Ray’s prior offering to this, To the Metal! (2010), Kai’s writing in particular just doesn’t stand out as much as it did particular in the Gamma Ray era between 1995 and 2001 where the band released classic power metal albums such as Land of the Free, Somewhere Out in Space and No World Order. A ‘good but not great’ rating is just about deserved. I’ll freely about that there’s a few extra points in there for the nostalgia.

6.7/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
Diogenes
In what is surely one of the most anticipated releases of 2012, ex-Helloween pals Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen are together again in Unisonic! Despite the pumpkins remaining quite productive (and as good as they’ve ever been, if you ask me), this is what seemingly everyone has been clamoring for ever since Kiske reappeared in the world of metal a few years ago. Be careful what you wish for, though, as our old friend Mike is now bald. Yikes.

First, if you’re expecting this album to be anything like the Keeper series, Gamma Ray, or even modern Helloween, you’re going to be disappointed. It would be a far stretch to call Unisonic power metal; heck, I’d say that most of the songs on here are closer to a mix of modern hard rock/AOR than anything you’ve heard from Hansen. Of course, the opening title track is a cooker, with galloping riffs and a blistering guitar solo (as you might have heard already; good marketing, leaking the best song on the album before the whole thing is released), but mostly everything else on Unisonic is mid-paced, with Kiske hogging the spotlight while avoiding many of his signature high notes. Yep, no Marches of Time for you!

That’s not to say the music is bad, mind you. It’s tight and very well-produced (as you’d hope, considering this took at least an extra year to get out than was originally planned), and if you take a handful of the songs and put them on shuffle, chances are you’ll find them very enjoyable. “Never Change Me” is my personal favorite; a fun, upbeat number with the album’s catchiest chorus, it sums up the rest of the album in four minutes pretty nicely. “Never Too Late” follows in the same vein, even though the lyrics are a bit silly (but this should be nothing new) and “We Rise” would make a great album closer (sadly, this is not the case) with its solid riffage and climactic chorus.

This album’s lack of real standout songs becomes a problem, though, about halfway through. Why? It never gets going! There are simply too many mid-tempo, straightforward rockers that are devoid of any big hooks. Taken song by song, they’re all pretty good, but it’s hard to listen to this album all the way through because there’s too much…ah, I really hate to use the word “filler,” and I hate saying “all songs sound the same” even more, but both phrases would apply here. It’s like an album full of singles with a ballad tacked on at the end; once you’ve heard the whole thing, there’s really no reason to hear it all again, except for the few tracks that might have caught your eye (or ear). In other words, there’s nothing to be discovered beyond the first couple of listens. No depth. No Easter Eggs. No lasting impressions.

I have mixed feelings about Unisonic’s debut. Michael Kiske is one of my favorite vocalists, and his performance here does nothing to change that. I really, really like a few of the songs, and they’d be in regular rotation in my music library had I bought this album. It’s professional-sounding and not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it just seems like another side project featuring Kiske’s vocals, rather than the grand reunion of two of power metal’s founding fathers. I want to love this album like you wouldn’t believe, but I just can’t give it any better than 3 stars.

Members reviews

RuneWalsh2112
I wasn't anticipating the debut album from the supergroup known as Unisonic merely because I only recently began to appreciate the classic Helloween records and the great team of Kiske/Hansen. The two have had quite a friendly off and on collaborative relationship after Kai Hansen quit Helloween just when the band have made their mark on the metal community of the early '90s. Hansen quickly formed Gamma Ray and continued to perform highly energetic Power Metal music to this day. Michael Kiske has had quite a different career after being fired from Helloween in 1993 and mourning the loss of his long time collaborator Ingo Schwichtenberg in 1995. Kiske pretty much quit the metal music scene all together for nearly 15 years, thus making us lose one of its greatest vocalists!

Luckily all was not lost since Kiske slowly but steadily began to resurface on a few metal albums. Working mostly as a guest star at first, his comeback was met with great enthusiasm from Metal fans all across the world! Finally, after another guest vocal appearance, on Hansen-lead Gamma Ray track "All You Need To Know", the old Helloween collaborators decided to give the music another go by forming Unisonic! As I mentioned previously, I've only recently began to appreciate the impact that Helloween's music had on the metal community of the '80s and the later work of Kai Hansen. It's clear that Hansen's career has been pretty much in status quo for nearly a decade. "No World Order" (2001) was the latest highly fan praised release from Gamma Ray and the band hasn't exactly done anything of that caliber since then. Their latest record "To The Metal!" was pretty much the same high quality Power Metal-by-numbers, which is both a good and/or bad depending on which perspective you have on things. So the formation of a new Kai Hansen project was certainly met with cheers from all the sides of the spectrum. But were the fans prepared for the music they were about to uncover on the Unisonic debut record?

I've heard quite a few comments/remarks about this album before actually giving it a shot. Most people seemed to be on a negative side regarding the band's lacking metal approach, which has instead been substituted by the more traditional Hard Rock sound mixed with hits of AOR. This is certainly true since there are only a handful of metal tracks on this release with the band's title track being the most obvious example of such an occurrence. The rest of the material is still quite enjoyable if you can look past the obvious commercial sound and even cheese on tracks like "Never Too Late" and especially "Never Change Me".

When I try to think of a perfect comparison band for Unisonic then the first name that comes to mind is Asia! Both of the acts are supergroups playing AOR styled music of the '80s, plus there are those instances when Michael Kiske sounds almost like John Wetton! Overall, I'd say that I did find this debut album to be surprisingly enjoyable even despite the obvious clichés. There is almost no Power Metal here so anyone expecting something along the lines of classic Helloween will be disappointed. I say, take it at face value and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the result!

**** star songs: Unisonic (3:26) Souls Alive (5:14) Star Rider (4:17) Renegade (4:39) My Sanctuary (4:16) King For A Day (4:07) We Rise (4:13) No One Ever Sees Me (6:13)

*** star songs: Never Too Late (4:30) I've Tried (4:56) Never Change Me (3:46)

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