Michael Kiske’s post-Helloween career hasn’t been the most accepted by long time power metal maniacs. The singer’s desire to stretch his horizons led to a series of solo albums and a modern rock project called Supared that didn’t exactly meet with critical favor. Some of his guest appearances with Avantasia and Revolution Renaissance gave hope to the faithful that Michael would return eventually to the melodic metal style that put him on the map. So here we have Unisonic - a reunion with fellow ex-Helloween guitarist Kai Hansen along with guitarist Mandy Meyer, bassist Dennis Ward, and drummer Kosta Zafiriou - and what an exciting time for this hard rock/melodic metal band to hit the scene.
Stylistically, Unisonic is decidedly taking a step back into the roots of hard rock, the riffing very much blues based and powerful with the German melodies and tradition in the forefront. Michael hasn’t lost any ounce of upper register finesse, some of his best work coming on the mid-tempo monster “Renegade” or the playful “Never Too Late” - the latter probably recalling “Dr. Stein” in terms of his personality shining through the verse and chorus melodies. The opening title cut is the closest to balls out power metal, some of the guitar work melding the best of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Iron Savior and even The Scorpions. It’s very helpful to have five musicians who have a wealth of musical and studio experience to draw from- and as such the fans of Unisonic will benefit from a professional sound and style that new bands take years to achieve through trial and error.
Even the ballad “No One Ever Sees Me” with its keyboard orchestration has this deeper classic affinity where Michael, Kai and Mandy channel the emotional scope of say Bob Seger or The Eagles through this stirring track. Everyone knows the challenge will be keeping Unisonic active amidst all of these musicians with their other music groups and production/professional schedules - but in the end, this is an outstanding full length album for those who love melodic metal and classic hard rock in general.
Rating: 5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe