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: Unisonic – Light of Dawn

By on October 22, 2014

Light_of_DawnLight of Dawn is the latest release from European hard rock super-group Unisonic. What sets Unisonic apart from most supergroups is the fact that is has two of the most iconic figures in power metal at the helm, Kai Hansen and Micheal Kiske. The group also includes Dennis Ward and Kosta Zafiriou, bass player and drummer of German hard rock sensation Pink Cream 69, plus Mandy Meyer, guitarist of Swiss rock group Gotthard.

There is no denying that Kai Hansen and Micheal Kiske have given us some of the most uplifting and groundbreaking music of this century, and subsequently broke new ground, making power metal mainstream thanks to Helloween‘s magnum opus Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I and II. That tradition continues on Light of Dawn, however from a dramatically different perspective.

Music enthusiasts have enjoyed the sounds of Helloween for sometime. Whether it be its classic speed metal inception with Hansen at the helm to Kiske coming in at the age of eighteen and dramatically changing the face of metal music. Unisonic is somewhat of a middle ground which ironically bridge these eras together. Whether intentional or not, you can’t help but notice certain similarities on the album which pay respects to both Kiske and Hansen’s influences in music, respectively.

Songs like “Your Time Has Come”, “Night of the Long Knives” and “Find Shelter” pay obvious nodes to the speed induced and majesty of classic Helloween. While ballads “Blood”, “When The Deed Is Done” and “Exceptional” give their respectful node to Helloween’s sometimes missed ballads and critically judged Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon, which where written with a softer and less epic approach, in turn showcasing Kiske’s versatility and ghostly comparison to the king of rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley.

Like a fine wine, Kiske’s vocals have definitely elevated and matured over time, and is the stand out attraction of the album. He would no doubt put some of the contenders of the X Factor and “Insert country here” Got Talent” to absolute shame. The 46 year old seamlessly transitions between vibrant vocals on the track “Manhunter” which at times touches upon classic rock, then quickly goes to a clean and crisp pop vocal ballad range, as heard on the final track “You and I” which has a bit of a country twang to it too. Its definitely the furthest away you can get from heavy metal, but truly showcases the power and raw emotion in Kiske’s range which would make grown men cry like little girls. The man hasn’t toured in almost 17 years (outside of Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia) yet pulls off the highest notes and octaves with sheer ease.

The bonus track Judgement Day that comes with the digipak of this release shows off a different side of the band with a sound scape mimicking that of most rock bands of the mid 90’s. Whenever I hear the song I have visions of Jane’s Addiction, Blind Melon and Everlast. Trust me, you just have to take my word for it, but definitely upbeat and catchy as hell. There is something definitely in it for everyone, and keeps itself fresh and vibrant for my ears.

Guitar solos are plentiful with both Ward and Hansen trading off each others energies. Guitar solos are stripped back to a degree with a classic AOR feel, tip toeing on the sounds of radio dominated bands of the 80’s and 90’s. Bands like Aerosmith, KISS, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Toto, Pretty Maids and the obvious Pink Cream 69, with hints of shredding throughout. While a majority of the album was written by Ward, it sure as hell doesn’t take anything away from the aesthetics and general joy joy feelings the album emits to my ears.

One thing I would strongly recommend the listener to take away from this album with the knowledge already known by many is not expecting anything but a good time. This is not a Helloween album. It is what is it, and that is the way it should be heard by everyone. I wouldn’t necessarily catagorise Unisonic as a power metal band. Sure, all the general trademarks are there; Anthemic, majestic, epic and feel good vibes throughout, but its still a hard rock album no matter which way you look at it. It maybe hard to escape all those power metal trademarks at first when you’ve been listening to a band, and two people who revolutionised the power metal genre, but again, it is what it is. A sensational hard rock album which can stand on its own two feet.

This album is definitely a humbling experience and no doubt an exceptional release of the year.

Band: Unisonic
Album: Light Of Dawn
Year: 2014
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: earMusic
Origin: Germany

Tracklist:

  1. Venite 2.0
  2. Your Time Has Come
  3. Exceptional
  4. For the Kingdom
  5. Not Gonna Take Anymore
  6. Night of the Long Knives
  7. Find Shelter
  8. Blood
  9. When the Deed Is Done
  10. Throne of the Dawn
  11. Manhunter
  12. You and I
  13.  Judgement Day

About

Anwar is the editor-in chief of Metal Obsession.net. When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook