Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Unisonic - Light of Dawn

Unisonic have had some intense hype following them, mostly due to the long awaited return of ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. Their first, self-titled release in 2012 received high recognition among fans and critics alike. Earlier this year audiences were graced with For the Kingdom (reviewed here), an EP that meshed a live set of previously released material with two new tracks; one of which would later appear on their full-length sophomore release, Light of Dawn. After a modest two year wait, listeners are hungrily awaiting the much anticipated, highly hyped follow-up, but has the wait been worth it?

Genre: Melodic Power Metal, Hard Rock
Label: earMUSIC
Release Date: August 1st, 2014
  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
Total Playtime: 54 minutes, 43 seconds




Rating: 7.5/10





Unisonic have had some intense hype following them, mostly due to the long awaited return of ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. Their first, self-titled release in 2012 received high recognition among fans and critics alike. Earlier this year audiences were graced with For the Kingdom (reviewed here), an EP that meshed a live set of previously released material with two new tracks; one of which would later appear on their full-length sophomore release, Light of Dawn. After a modest two year wait, listeners are hungrily awaiting the much anticipated, highly hyped follow-up, but has the wait been worth it?

Unisonic have taken a more 80's style hard rock approach with Light of Dawn, and in doing so they have withheld much of the complexity that showered their debut release in favor of tame, manufactured song structures. It's quickly learned that the band are mostly carried by the infamy of the Michael Kiske and fellow ex-Helloween/current Gamma Ray legionnaire Kai Hansen, rather than by their own distinctive talents or traits. Much of the material rests at a medium tempo, and many of the compositions are of the regular hard rock hit variety. However, those in need of an uplifting experience filled with positive vibes and a reassuring atmosphere will find themselves embracing the welcoming warmth of the content.

The thumping bass is very prominent throughout the tracks, showcasing walking lines that change frets in sync with the rhythm guitar chords; this composure method is best shown during the upbeat anthem "Your Time Has Come". Sometimes this element even leads the way through the fray, "Exceptional" being a perfect example. The same can be said for the milder "When the Deed is Done", which is a slower paced track that stands along the lines of Fleetwood Mac's 1980's work. Unfortunately the two guitars don't share the same enthusiastic individuality as the bass, both the lead and rhythm carry rather bland distortion and work with an array of generalized solos and riffs. The drums take on a soft rock appeal, and once they carve a beat into a track it's hard for them to move on; Kosta Zafiriou will stick to the same beat for upwards to a minute and a half at times, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as the drumming tends to be the creator of the album's framework.


As opposed to the EP, "For the Kingdom" actually stands out here, it's one of the more mosaic efforts and it has a vigorous appeal to it that lacks during a good portion of the remaining tracks; similar songs that put forth the same amount of domineering energy are "Find Shelter", "Night of the Long Knives" and "Your Time Has Come". The remaining content has the tendency to be churchy, mostly due to the uplifting compositions and positive lyrical matter; the David and Goliath metaphor during "Not Gonna Take Anymore" only further drives the religious overtone. "You and I" stands out as the sappy ballad of the album, complete with the high flying inspirational solo and lastly, "Throne of the Dawn" is the sore thumb of the track listing. It starts out with an obscure, doomish composure that's quickly dismissed in lieu of more inspirational, good vibe riffs; but the guitar occasionally dips down into the lower fret/lower string descending note structure with some pinch harmonics thrown in for good measure.

Light of Dawn can be summed up in a couple of words, the foremost being over-hyped. Obviously Michael Kiske unleashes a powerful vocal performance, but it's nothing to fall to your knees and cry to the metal gods over. It's good to see him working alongside Kai Hansen again, though the duo only briefly crossed paths in Helloween. When you put it in plain light and take away the fact of any well known names appear in this line-up, it's really just a typical arid cut of contemporary hard rock; and using the term 'hard rock' is even pushing it at times. With Dennis Ward and Kosta Zafiriou from Pink Cream 69 making up the other half of the line-up, the material comes across with that old school 80's glam rock undertone.

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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