Sound — 8
The long awaited return of Michael Kiske in the power/heavy metal world. To help him return is former Helloween member and current Gamma Ray member Kai Hansen. Some might say this is an attempt at reliving the Helloween days, they could be right. But the music on this album is different enough to be considered something new, although it does draw a little bit of influence. I'm not 100% sure how these two got together, but either way it was a great thing. The production quality is pretty good on this album I'd have to say. The album starts with the title track/band name. The song "Unisonic" is a high energy one for sure. The intro to it is really a kick in the balls for what's about to come. The song is filled with little fills that really add to it. From this song alone you can tell Kiske has lost some of his voice, but he's still better then most will ever be. I think it would be a safe bet to say this song is about the band. The second track on the album "Souls Alive" definitely has a heavier feel to it in places. It starts with a nice mini solo I guess you'd call it that leads into the song. The lyrics on this song interest me a lot. It kind of stays true to how positive Helloween was with a lot of their lyrics. But these lyrics do definitely have darker parts that were never really highlighted in Helloween. The third track, "Never Too Late" doesn't stand out to me to be honest. To me it has a lot of generic rock parts to it. It just seems like it's all been done before. Also, unlike the two songs before this doesn't have as much of a kick to it. Others might enjoy it a bit more, but that's just my opinion towards it. The lyrics on this song though are good if you're looking towards a bit of inspiration. The fourth track, "I've Tried" starts off with an intro that really gives you the feeling of not knowing what's going to happen next. I went into this song really having no clue what to expect from the very beginning, which I think was a good thing to have done. The verses seem very toned down, which is a good thing. It adds to it when it goes into the explosion later on. This song is probably one of the very best on the album. It has a very classic feel to it. The fifth song "Star Rider" starts with a nice little drum background beat with vocals over it. The riffs don't hugely stand out. This song is set at a bit of a slower tempo then some of the songs from before. It has a pretty big chorus I think with Kiske's singing making it that. The sixth song "Never Change Me" is also set a bit of a slower tempo too. For some reason this song reminds me of country. Maybe the way the guitar does little things, or how his voice sounds in places. Don't hate me for saying that, but just the way the structure of it goes along and the overall feel of it. But none the less I think it's a pretty good song. The seventh song "Renegade" is the song you will be looking for if you want a very powerful song. The intro riff really sets it going, then it slows down a bit and tones down. When the chorus comes around it just makes you feel good for some reason. It's just a very powerful chorus with great singing. The slow verses really help add to the explosion of the chorus's. The eighth song "My Sanctuary" has a nice chugging guitar riff in. There's a few secondary guitar licks that are added during the verses. Although not a really fast song, it does have a good energy to it. The guitar solo definitely has a true classic rock feel in places. The ninth song on the album "King For A Day" just screams power. Kiske's voice kind of takes on a bit of a different feel on this song. Instead of displaying unity with his vocals on this song he instead makes it feel like he's crushing you with his singing. To me Kiske commonly will bring you along in a sense with the way he sings, but in this song he seems to kick you down and say "listen!" The tenth song "We Rise", like most songs on the album starts with a bitching guitar riff but then leads to a slower riff in the verse, faster riff and big chorus. You'll realize that a lot of the songs follow a similar structure on this album. But none the less, this song is a great one in my opinion. The final track on the album "No One Ever Sees Me" is a good way to end an album. Instead of going out with a huge bang then kind of go out in a gracious way. The song is almost like a thank you, and then a slow fade away.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on this album are generally positive, but do have the places where they may take a darker spin on things. I'm not going to say that these lyrics are the greatest things ever, but they definitely are very good. The lyrics fit very well with the lyrics. I kind of wonder if when they wrote these lyrics they had the intention of throwing a certain kind of music over it. There's a common factor of build up within the songs that may hint at that. Kiske is back ladies and gentlemen! It's not the 80's anymore, but he can still belt out those high notes. He seems to hold back a bit on this album though in places. Perhaps he was just being smart and doesn't want to destroy his voice.
Overall Impression — 8
I think if you go into this album thinking it will be a classic Helloween album you will be disappointed probably. But if you go into it just looking for a great rock or metal album you probably enjoy it. I don't think it would be fair to say that this album isn't as good as Helloween albums or Gamma Ray albums because this album differs quite a bit from them. The best song on the album is probably "Souls Alive" due to it's heavier feel, energy and nice mini guitar solos, and the actual one. There is still a lot of other great songs on this album though. If I could change this album I might've added a few more heavy songs and tried to change the repeated structure that some songs follow. Overall though, this is a great hard rock/metal album. It proves that Kiske still has his voice, and that him and Kai can still make great music. Overall I'll give this album a solid eight due to it's great consistency and overall good songs. I'd definitely say pick it up.