venerdì 17 aprile 2015
Kiske/Somerville - City of Heroes
Album: City of Heroes
Release date: April 17, 2015
Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: Pop music with guitars and your mom's favourite metal duo
WHAT THIS IS ABOUT
Second album as a duo for Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville. If you don't know who Kiske is, count yourself lucky: today is the day you get to listen to Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys. He is the quintessential power metal singer, and still has that kind of aura, despite the thousands of copycats who tried to out-Kiske him. You know Amanda Somerville by proxy, considering she is a renowned vocal coach for a lot of metal chicks. She was also heavily featured in metal operas such as Avantasia and AinA and has a good solo career. This is your usual Frontiers Records team-up, like Allen/Lande, with songs written mostly by Magnus Karlsson and Mat Sinner (core members of Primal Fear).
WHAT IT DOES RIGHT
It's firmly rooted in the realm of easy-listening rock. Like, yeah, nominally it's power metal but it's softer than what you hear on mainstream radio. For the most part, this works very well, considering the duo can boast crystal clear voices capable of sudden explosions of melody. Walk on Water is one of the best songs in the genre, period - that's how it's done, and you can't teach it, because you need a great melody, an adequate sound and two great vocalists. This is the heart of the project. I enjoyed the drumming by Veronika Lukešová - it's never surprising, but it adds an interesting dimension to the songs. It's also the only thing (together with guitar solos and vocals) that producer Jacob Hansen felt like we should be able to hear through the whole album.
WHAT IT DOES WRONG
OhGodthelyrics. God. They're the biggest turn-off. They're not silly in a fun way (you know, like Helloween), they're not so-bad-that-they're-good material (like Rhapsody of Fire), they're just cringeworthy. I actually felt bad for Kiske and Somerville. Amanda, by the way, sounds generic. That's her thing, she is the standard for the genre - which is a great achievement - but she hasn't pushed her voice to develop a unique sound. Chances are, you're tired of the overall sound: cheesy power metal has been done, re-done, killed, resuscitated, overdone again and is now barely surviving. Even if you aren't, you can give your attention to a band who's actually trying to make good songs all the time and maybe infuses a little more energy.
Forgettable. There's a couple of good songs in there (Walk on Water, Open Your Eyes, Run with a Dream) but the problem with melodic albums is that the melodies have to be brilliant. It's why pop music is successful. Here, you can't find many tunes that stick with you after you turn the speakers off. Considering everything else (guitars, keyboards, bass - I've been told there's a bass player, I could hear a faint echo of a bass at times) is just there so the vocals have a background to lean on, there is very little in this album that deserves your attention. That being said, I really love Walk on Water. At least I got something out of this album.