|Unisonic - 'Light Of Dawn' (earMUSIC)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Friday, 01 August 2014 03:00|
'Light Of Dawn', the second album from Unisonic, faces several challenges. Firstly, will it successfully take the promise shown on their excellent self titled debut from 2012 and expand on it? Secondly, will it prove that Unisonic are, always were and will continue to be a viable band, a real band, and not just another part time project for Dennis Ward and Michael Kiske to pass time with much like they do when dabbling with the saccharine songs of Place Vendome? And finally, will it ignite interest in people who may have let the debut release pass them by?
I personally think that the answer will be yes to all of these questions because 'Light Of Dawn' is anything but a carbon copy of the album that proceeded it. Michael Kiske, Dennis Ward, Kai Hansen, Mandy Meyer and Kosta Zafiriou have undeniably grown more united as a unit since 2012 and as a result have managed to craft a near perfect album together this time around, one that is packed full of power, melody and life and yes, when needed, even a little bit of tenderness.
From the off 'Light Of Dawn' means business. The band come out swinging, upping the metal ante with a track that blows away everything that has come before it. Talk about a confident start. 'Your Time Has Come' launches, and I mean LAUNCHES, 'Light Of Dawn' with a blaze of brilliance. As this track barrels down a power metal autobahn I find myself elated at the speed, the sound and THAT voice. This is the real sound of Michael Kiske's return to real metal. Yes, he's had dalliances with material via guest slots with Avantasia and Gamma Ray but for one of his own bands this is probably the heaviest, fastest and most powerful he's been since the Helloween heyday of the the late eighties.
Likewise the already available 'For The Kingdom', which was released as the lead track on a pre-album EP back in May, exhibits just as much flashing metal as Bruce Dickinson whipping his épée about. Kiske sounds positively vibrant as he powers through the glorious euphoria of this optimistic anthem, riding like a knight on a promise. What's also immediately obvious on these two tracks, aside from the band leaning towards a heavier, more in-your-face style, is how much more you can hear Dennis Ward's basslines this time compared to the debut. The bass is right up in the mix, rattling like a sabre as the band charge through the galloping pace of these two tracks with a tremendous Maiden-esque vibe.
Outright metal moments aside there's still so much more to discover as you delve deeper into an album that takes twists and turns through some familiar musical territories yet still manages to surprise with both rock and awe. 'Exceptional' is sandwiched between 'Your Time Has Come' and 'For The Kingdom' at the start of the album but takes a detour around the mighty metal peaks, instead choosing to revel in something of a Priestly 'Turbo' groove. Kiske steering the vocals through captivating twists and turns as the music literally purrs away underneath. Subtle yet simple, Ward's five string groove once more at the fore leading the way.
'Night Of The Long Knives' slices open a hard rock vein spilling out some almost Queensryche-like moments echoing the feel of the classic '...Mindcrime' days. As does 'Throne Of The Dawn' to some extent. Others like 'When The Deed Is Done', Not Gonna Take Anymore' and the slow flow of 'Blood' all stick with more of a hard rock style. And once again, as always, the flawless production from in-house wizard Dennis Ward brings with it a dimension to the sound that gives the songs so much life. The perfectly paced ballad 'You And I' being a prime example. Kiske's delicate tones pulling heart strings as acoustic ones drift effortlessly around him. This song alone is easily one of the most beautiful things Kiske has ever sung and ticks the tenderness box I spoke of earlier. Sublime is an understatement here. If you want a reason why I love this band so much just listen to this.
Unisonic have not just equaled the quality and style of their debut album they've bettered it by a country mile. With some solid hard rock, nice shiny metal and a touch of genteel balladry 'Light Of Dawn' is an album that has it all. The only thing that could make life better right now would be if these guys actually played a bloody UK show to promote it!