After the sneak peek EP released few months ago, Germans UNISONIC delivers their second album "Light Of Dawn", and it's largely what everybody was hoping for from this European supergroup.
If you don't recall Unisonic the band hit the headlines for reuniting two legends Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske, reunited 23 years after they formed part of Helloween. As well as featuring Kiske / Hansen, there's talented Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), Mandy Meyer (Krokus, ex- Asia, ex- Gotthard) and Kosta Zafirou (ex Pink Cream 69).
Besides being excellent musicians, these guys are geniuses, at twisting together melodic hard rock and Euro metal into interesting and entertaining super songs. Superlatives aside, this new album simply rocks with groove for AOR hard rock fans and, for the metal heads, also offer plenty of head banging glory.
Kicking off with "Venite 2.0" which is a short orchestral track that serves as intro, "Your Time Has Come” is the first proper song, and I am happy to report that Kiske's vocals are soaring once again inspiring thoughts of those wonderful Helloween releases he appeared on, as does "Find Shelter" later.
But then the twisting, bending, and manipulating begins as Unisonic blurs the lines of hard rock and metal.
"Night of the Long Knives" and "Not Gonna Take Anymore", for example, have the big heavy metal riffs and stinging licks, yet over the blessed groove and melody that tickles your ears.
Then there's the very cool "Exceptional" where the blend is so meticulously smooth, it's equally menacing and entertaining. The song moves just as much by Kiske vocal arrangements as it does with bass and drum line. I'm guessing Ward and Zafiriou love playing this song.
Then we are treated to that stellar heavy grooving of "For The Kingdom" with those smoking guitar solos it's quite the package. "Not Gonna Take Anymore" serves up more for admirers of gripping guitar work which Light Of Dawn isn't short on, and it's another impressive song.
The anthem "When The Deed Is Done" is mid-paced magic, that music coupled to the mesmerising vocals of Kiske has me hooked. "Throne Of The Dawn" is somewhat deceiving, starting out like we are in for a slow potent number, it soon becomes another vibrant heavy rock tune.
A true power ballad ends the album with "You and I", a steady pace, more gentle passionate vocals from Kiske and, of course, the requisite soaring solos. I'll admit "Blood" and "Manhunter" fell a bit flat compared with the aforementioned highlights, but considering the overall strength of the album, it would not be fair to simply call them filler. I suspect they'll grow on you eventually.
With a terrific set of songs even more solid than its predecessor, "Light Of Dawn" is a killer second CD from Unisonic.
It's melodic, it's soaring, anthemic and heavy, all at the same time. Kiske is on fire, and the rest of the band rocks. Of course, production is brilliant, with Dennis Ward behind the knobs what else would you expect.
"Light Of Dawn" is another winner for Unisonic.
01 - Venite 2.0
02 - Your Time Has Come
03 - Exceptional
04 - For The Kingdom
05 - Not Gonna Take Anymore
06 - Night Of The Long Knives
07 - Find Shelter
08 - Blood
09 - When The Deed Is Done
10 - Throne Of The Dawn
11 - Manhunter
12 - You And I
Vocals - Michael Kiske
Bass, Vocals - Dennis Ward
Guitars - Kai Hansen, Mandy Meyer
Drums - Kosta Zafiriou