If she went by her looks alone Norwegian singer Issa would stir more than a few masculine souls (and perhaps some other body parts). But the real charm here is Issa's voluptuous vocal presence. Singing since she was 17, Issa has made the rounds as a studio singer for different labels in Scandinavia. Now 'discovered' by Frontiers records, she premiers her first full length album, Sign of Angels.
Issa has some talented support behind on this debut including producer Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon) with Peter Huss on guitar, Uli Kusch (ex Masterplan, Helloween) on drums, Nobby Noberg on bass and Tim Larsson (Nick Lachey) on keyboards. Songwriting comes from some more powerful folk: Joacim Cans (Hammerfall), Thomas Vikström (Candlemass), Daniel Flores (TMOMS), Sören Kronqvist (Crash the System), among others. With her talent and such a supporting cast, one should expect some huge fireworks. Well, sort of.
Without question Issa is quite talented and, generally, you get a valuable sense of her abilities on Sign of Angels. However, I'm not entirely convinced that the music, the songs, here were the best canvas for her. While the songwriting is passable, only a few songs truly stirred, causing me to vault to my feet in exclamation. Closer, Unbelievable, and possibly As I Live and Breathe were the best showcases for Issa.
However, there was not a single song that put her over the top like I Will I Always Love You did for Whitney Houston or Because You Loved Me for Celine Dion. Frankly, if it were not for the depth and strength of Issa's abilities I wonder if many of these songs would not fall flat. (The closing number Fallen Angel is a perfect example of a mediocre platform for her.) In other words, Issa carries this album, making the music on Sign of Angels better. It's like having Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino in an average film: they can always raise the level of quality.
Fundamentally, while Sign of Angels is significant step for Issa and her vocal career, it could have been made better with stronger songs. Her talent is amazing, and I hope for a bright future for Issa.
Fundamentally, while Sign of Angels is significant step for Issa and her vocal career, it could have been made better with stronger songs. Her talent is amazing, and hope for a bright future for Issa.