If you're in the larger European theatre, you probably already know about Unisonic, have their EP Ignition and possibly even their full length self-titled debut already. I envy you, my friends. Then you also know that this band has a killer line-up: Michael Kiske (Helloween, Place Vendome, et al) on vocals, Mandy Meyer (Asia, Gotthard, Krokus, et al) on guitar, Kai Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray, et al) on guitar, and from Pink Cream 69, Dennis Ward (bass) and Kosta Zafiriou (drums). Holy shit! This could be epic.
And it is. This album is massive. Here's the best scenario: five excellent musicians combine to make an album of terrific melodic hard rock. Certainly, it's good to have Kiske back in a band, even better to have him hooked up again with Kai Hansen.
Moreover, and equally awesome, is the simple formula of combining melody with edgy, sometimes metalish, hard rock. Additionally, here's a perfect example of how melodic vocal arrangements make any heavy music better. (Something that much of modern hard rock and metal is missing in the era.) Kiske and Unisonic as a whole are simply brilliant in their compositions. Just dig Unisonic (my vote for best melodic metal song of the year), Star Rider, Never Change Me or Renegade, by example. Yet every other element is killer, from the tight and formidible rhythm section to the soaring and inspiring guitar solos. And the whole album simply sounds great. (Could this be because Ward was at the knobs?) This disc can easily be pulled off the shelf for repeated listens or put in rotation for driving music.
Unisonic's debut long-player is exciting stuff: well-crafted and well-played, energetic and enthusiastic, melodic hard rock of the highest form. The folks in Europe know this and can get the album now. Those of us in North America, we have to wait until May 22. What's up with that? I'll tell you: it's quite disappointing.