|Unisonic - 'Ignition' Mini Album (earMUSIC)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Saturday, 31 March 2012 05:00|
Two years ago I wrote a review for Gamma Ray's then new album, 'To The Metal', on which Kai Hansen's long lost Helloween bandmate Michael Kiske ventured out of the shadows of self imposed solo obscurity to lay down some of his legendary tone on the fantastic 'All You Need To Know'. It gave a fleeting glimpse of what we've been missing since the only true Helloween line up started disintegrating at the end of the eighties. We had had a brief taste of this magic once before way back in 1995 when Kiske guested on 'Time To Break Free' from Gamma Ray's iconic 'Land Of The Free' album but for the large part their two differing paths have pretty much kept then in entirely different fields of music.
Thankfully though with Unisonic we finally get this most longed for reunion for good as Kiske and Hansen are both major components within this new "supergroup". To me the duo were always the two main ingredients that flavoured Helloween's early success', helping create some of the greatest metal that has ever come out of Europe. So with the pair working together in a full time band for the first time since 1988/89 my expectations and I'm guessing thousands of others were extremely high. I'm happy to report that these expectations have not only been fulfilled but surpassed by miles.
But the reunion of Kiske and Hansen shouldn't overshadow the rest of Unisonic though as they were of course a going concern before Kai became involved. In fact in many ways the most important part of Unisonic is bassist Dennis Ward. It was his Place Vendome project with Kiske on vocals that was the catalyst that led towards the formation of Unisonic. Whereas Place Vendome was essentially a studio project outlet for AOR urges the creation of Unisonic was done with the intention of getting a working band out on the road with material that was a little less sweet with a harder rock edge.
So aside from Pink Cream 69's Dennis Ward and the reunited Kiske and Hansen Unisonic are finalised by Mandy Meyer (guitar) and Kosta Zafiriou (drums) and the first thing the band put out (before Kai's arrival), 'Souls Alive', is represented here in demo form as track three. When this song was originally put out as a taster of what was to come on Unisonic's myspace page (yes I said myspace, that's how truly old school they are) it was enough to make me realise that I was going to have a new favourite band once they really started going and boy was I right. 'Souls Alive (Demo)' is now testament to how much Unisonic have developed together since Kai's joining as it now stands as the weakest track on this EP, yet it's still fucking awesome...
So on to the two newer tracks that appear here and ones that have that surname Hansen in the credits. To be honest the anticipation of this fresh material from the renewed Kiske/Hansen union has had me wetter than a beaver on a water slide so when first track, 'Unisonic', literally exploded into life my face lit up like a brandy soaked pudding. With quickfire riffing in typical Gamma Ray style mixed with classic Kiske it's simply everything I could have wished for. A blueprint of excellence executed to perfection. Kiske sounds amazing, the power and the majesty within his voice still holding true and to hear him alongside Kai again is a dream come true. This isn't riff heavy power metal nor is it subtle AOR it's just straight out metal with melody. Music to lift your soul as high as Kiske's soaring vocals. There's an urgency to it which gives a Place Vendome on a sugar rush type vibe but Kai's unmistakable power and style on the guitar tips it over the edge of outstanding into the realms of the un-fuckin-real. Although Hansen is the main song writer on this one there's also input from both Ward and Meyer on both music and lyrics and is indisputable proof of what potential this mix of guys have.
More proof of this is evident on 'My Santuary' the other new track available here. This one a straight forward rocker and much like 'Unisonic' it's got a pace and excitement that shines wildly. With Kiske's "Running Free" line pushing lung power to the max it's easy to see why he was many fans favourite suggestion to replace Bruce Dickinson when he originally quit Maiden. Finally the timeless Hansen penned classic that is 'I Want Out' from Helloween's heyday of 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2' finishes off the quartet of tunes. A blast from the past that still remains vital this version is a live performance of the song by Unisonic from Tokyo's Loudpark Festival 2011. Simply stunning it shows what a tight unit Unisonic are and the volume of the crowd testament to how much love is gathering for this group already. With a full album due at the end of the month this 4 track mini album is a great taster of what's to come. Unisonic have the potential to really make a huge impact this year so 2012 looks set to be in store for some very exciting times and outstanding music.
To pick up your copy of 'Ignition - Mini Album' - CLICK HERE