Unisonic is best described as a German supergroup. Songwriter/bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, D.C. Cooper) and singer Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Supared) formed the band in 2009. They brought with them drummer Kosta Zafiriou (D.C. Cooper, ex-Pink Cream 69) and guitarist Mandy Meyer (ex-Krokus). The band gained a lot more attention when they announced that Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) would join the fold in 2011 as a second guitarist. A year later the groups debut EP and album were released.
IGNITION (Mini Album) (2012) EAR MUSIC/EDEL
||* recorded at Loudpark Festival, Saitama Soper Arena, Toyo, Japan on October 15th 2011|
Whenever legends are reunited, whether it be in their former bands, on their respective solo efforts, or, as in this case, in a brand new constellation, expectations go through the roof. And the record labels always knows how to trigger a fans wet dream even more. So when it was announced that Michael Kiske had teamed up with Kai Hansen in a brand new heavy metal band, the metal world held it's breath in anticipation. By now most people are familiar with both gentlemen's past in the early incarnations of Helloween, and having them reunited is like having the foundations of melodic power metal put back together again! And since Michael Kiske has spent the last decade or so denouncing heavy metal, and it's "evil" connotations, this pairing seemed even more far fetched. Yet, after the unsuccessful Supared rock band, Michael and Dennis Ward teamed up and formed Unisonic. After assembling 2 more members for the band, the final piece of the puzzle was added when said Kai Hansen joined in 2011. A German supergroup was officially formed.
OK, so first off, Unisonic is not a continuation of either of it's members former bands. So those expecting them to sound like Gamma Ray, Helloween or Pink Cream 69 will be disappointed. Unisonic sounds more like an amalgam of all these bands. That means melodic heavy metal, with clear roots in the latter half of the '80's. The 3 tracks on 'Ignition', the bands debut mini album, are all pretty melodic, and could probably fit nicely on any album released via Frontiers Records. Come to think of it, a song like "My Sanctuary" sounds like it could have fit in with the material on the 2 last albums Michael did with Helloween, ironically those recorded after Kai left. Mind you, I'm not saying this because I find this to be anything negative. Far from it, "Unisonic", "My Sanctuary" and "Souls Alive" are all good, catchy songs. Still, I am hoping that Unisonic perhaps saved the even better songs for the upcoming full length album. My expectations continue at a safer degree, knowing that I like what I hear on 'Ignition'
UNISONIC (Limited Edition Digibook) (2012) EAR MUSIC/EDEL
Michael Kiske - Vocals
Kai Hansen - Guitars
Mandy Meyer - Guitars
Dennis Ward - Bass
Kosta Zafiriou - Drums
* = bonus track
We got a taste of what was to come when Unisonic released the EP, 'Ignition', only months before their first self entitled debut full length album. 'Unisonic' delivers more of the melodic heavy metal offered on said EP.
I have to admit that I was a tad disappointed at first, as I had hoped for a full-on metal album, as promised in the hype. But I should have learned by now not to read anything into what the record label is trying to pass off as the truth. And luckily it didn't take long before the magic appeared in my ears as I spent some quality album with this album. First off; it is soooo friggin' good to hear Michael Kiske as the voice of a band again. His countless guest spots on various albums, his "anti-metal" solo efforts and duet projects have not been everything from bleh to superb. But we've all secretly hoped for his return to a proper band again. You see a band is only as strong as it's weakest link, and with Unisonic, there are none! Kai Hansen brings the speed and the metal, while Dennis brings the melody, and with Michael's angelic vocals on top, they create magic!
Those looking for music that sounds like Helloween can go look elsewhere (although the title track here is close enough). But if you're a fan of the Place Vendome albums Kiske did, then this is music for your ears. Now, I'm not going to pass 'Unisonic' off as some sort of divine masterpiece, because it has it's flaws in form of songs that just doesn't cut it. But as a whole this is a melodic metal platter that leaves a big grin on my face. This is actually better than I dared to hope it would be. Unisonic have started their career by creating one of the best albums in 2012!
My digibook version of the album comes with a bonus track, called "Over The Rainbow".
Killer tracks: Unisonic, Souls Alive, Never Too Late, I've Tried, Never Change Me, My Sanctuary, King For A Day, No One Ever Sees Me
Kai Hansen guest appearances:
HammerFall - 'I Want Out' (single)
HammerFall - 'Renegade' (single)
HammerFall - 'Masterpieces'
Blind Guardian - 'Follow the Blind'
Blind Guardian - 'Tales From The Twilight World'
Blind Guardian - 'Somewhere Far Beyond'
Michael Kiske - 'Instant Clarity'
Primal Fear - 'Primal Fear'
Angra - 'Angels Cry'
Angra - 'Temple Of Shadows'
Michael Kiske guest appearances:
Gamma Ray - 'Land Of The Free'
Gamma Ray - 'Rebellion In Dreamland'
Gamma Ray - 'Somewhere Out In Space'
Gamma Ray - 'To The Metal
Masterplan - 'Masterplan'
Edguy - 'Superheroes'
Tribuzy - 'Execution'
Revolution Renaissance - 'New Era'
Avantasia - 'Avantasia' (EP)
Avantasia - 'The Metal Opera Pt. 1'
Avantasia - 'The Metal Opera Pt. 2'
Avantasia - 'Lost In Space Part 2' (EP)
Avantasia - 'The Scarecrow'
Avantasia - 'The Wicked Symphony'
Avantasia - 'Angel of Babylon'
Helloween, Gamma Ray, Michael Kiske