Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kiske/Somerville - City of Heroes (2015)

The Primal Fear guitarist Magnus Karlsson is known to be a pretty generous guy when it comes to lending his abilities. He has written material for a bunch of projects during the years, like Allen/Lande, Scheepers and his own little solo project Free Fall. So when it was announced that he would write songs for the two fantastic vocalists Michael Kiske, mostly known for his time in Helloween and his current band Unisonic, and Amanda Somerville, a woman who have guest starred in bands like Avantasia, Kamelot and Edguy, it was all set up for success. Sadly, the first album they released ("Kiske/Somerville" from 2010) was a big disappointment. A big bland blend of uninspired and power less power metal.

So you could sense that I was not overly excited that the trio would once again release a album together, but to my surprise, the sophomore album "City of Heroes" does actually sound quite nice. The biggest difference from "Kiske/Somerville" is without a doubt the quality of the songs. It seems like Magnus has given up to create songs that both Michale and Amanda could do a duet on and instead puts the focus on their individual strengths, which is just the right tactic since I felt that the two vocalists did not really match each other well enough to share the load in a chorus. Or maybe it was the half crappy production that made it seem that they did not match up, I don't know.

Anyway, as I said, the music in "City of Heroes" is a big step forward from the last album. It is straight forward modern melodic power metal, a style that we have heard so much of before, but still is enjoyable when done right and professionally. Michael and Amanda delivers some good singing and Magnus controls his guitar exquisitely. I could wish that the choruses could have been stronger and more memorable, but it still sounds good to my ears and it is fairly easy to sing along to songs like "Lights Out" and "City of Heroes", while other songs, like "Breaking Neptune" and "Ocean of Tears", impress you with its great craftsmanship.

However, is "City of Heroes" enough to stand out in a genre that is more or less overfilled with bands and projects? It definitely is a album that is above average, but it is far from a dazzling experience. You listen to it some times and enjoy the music, but I highly doubt that I will still listen to this album in a couple of months. Fans of the artists and classic melodic power metal should certainly get this release and will most likely enjoy it very much, but do not expect something mind blowing. After all, this is just a side project, and side projects RARELY comes out with anything that would top the works of the main band.

Songs worthy of recognition: City of Heroes, Breaking Neptune, Ocean of Tears

Rating: 7/10 Salvations

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