Unisonic have strengthened their credibility by upping their game in every quarter.
With last month’s teaser EP ‘For The Kingdom’ (a tasty hors d’oeuvre if ever there was one) suitably whetting the ol’ appetite for something a little more substantial, Unisonic now serve up the main event with sophomore album ‘Light Of Dawn’.
When Unisonic first appeared on collective radar screens a couple of years ago, much was made of the fact that erstwhile Helloween men Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen were working together in the same band again... indeed, you got the impression that a return to that classic ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’ sound was very much on the cards. The truth however turned out to be rather different, and whilst the odd kerosene fuelled Helloween motif did make an appearance here and there, for the most part the ‘Unisonic’ album was a much more traditional sounding Melodic Hard Rock album pitched somewhere between Pink Cream 69 and a heavier Place Vendome (not surprising really given the involvement of movers and shakers like Dennis Ward).
For album number two the band – which is rounded out by guitarist Mandy Meyer (Krokus, etc.) and Kosta Zafiriou (PC69) – haven’t strayed too far from the same persuasive formula, only this time around everything seems that much bigger. The songs are bigger, the hooks are bigger, the riffs are bigger, the sound (if at all possible) too is bigger… and the range of influences and sounds incorporated also seems to have expanded. Compare and contrast the likes of ‘Not Gonna Take Anymore’ and ‘Your Time Has Come’; the former a swaggering mid-tempo Hard Rocker with a genuine 1980s vibe, the latter a frenzied Speed Metal number pitched somewhere twixt Helloween and Sonata Arctica.
Light and shade has always been a great way of keeping prospective listeners on their toes, and it’s that very air of unpredictable inevitability that plays out across the likes of ‘Night Of Long Knives’, ‘You And I’, ‘For The Kingdom’, ‘Blood’, ‘Manhunter’ and ‘Throne Of The Dawn’ and makes ‘Light...’ such an irresistible draw.
Produced once again by Ward (be honest, if he was in your band you’d want him behind the mixing desk?!), the sound is both huge and crystal clear; the ringing tones of Kiske’s vocals sitting just atop an ever complex, yet enthralling web of interlocking instrumentation. Given the praise heaped on the aforesaid debut it would have been easy to serve up the same once again, but Unisonic have strengthened their credibility by upping their game in every quarter... I haven’t stopped playing it for weeks now, and each time it just seems to get better!
And at that I haven’t even mentioned the stunning cover art…