Back in 2009, the Italian record label Frontiers Records, a predominantly melodic rock label, were involved in putting together a new project under the title Kiske Somerville.
Featuring the German vocalist Michael Kiske (formerly lead singer of heavy metal band Helloween and currently of Unisonic) and the American singer Amanda Somerville of the band Trillium, the self-titled debut album, released in 2010, was a decent melodic rock / metal record.
Now in 2015 comes the follow up “City Of Heroes”. As with the first album, the majority of the songwriting is handled by guitarist / keyboardist Magnus Karlsson of Primal Fear and bassist Mat Sinner (also a member of Primal Fear and his own band Sinner). Joining Kiske, Somerville, Karlsson and Sinner on the album is drummer Veronika Lukešová.
Kicking off with one of the best tracks, “City Of Heroes”, it’s immediately clear to me that this album is a step up from the first. Falling somewhere between hard rock and power metal, the sound is huge and the melody is very memorable and catchy. Kiske and Somerville’s voices mix perfectly, and the song has a big chorus that’s easy to sing along with practically straight away.
Other favourites here include “Salvation”, “Open Your Eyes” and “Run With A Dream”.
Elsewhere “Walk On Water” starts with a delicate piano figure which builds into a slower paced number with another fabulous chorus, sounding not dissimilar from the bands such as Nightwish. In fact, if you were being overly critical you could argue that the whole album is a kind of generic Nightwish-a-like one.
The musicianship is not in question – the performances are of a uniformly high quality, and there are some excellent guitar solos. Vocally Kiske and Somerville tend to sing individually until the choruses when they sing together, and both sing really well.
The material, however, is where things could perhaps be a little better. Granted all the songs and catchy and memorable, but perhaps a little obvious and, as I say, generic?
Nonetheless, there is much to enjoy here, and if you want to hear something that you can sing along to that isn’t too taxing on the old grey matter – think disposable tunes from the likes of KISS but done is a European melodic power metal style – then this record fits the bill perfectly…
1. City Of Heroes / 2. Walk On Water / 3. Rising Up / 4. Salvation / 5. Lights Out / 6. Breaking Neptune / 7. Ocean Of Tears / 8. Open Your Eyes / 9. Last Goodbye / 10. After The Night Is Over / 11. Run With A Dream / 12. Right Now