Frontiers Records [Release Date 17.04.15]
Despite the rather unimaginative name, some of rock’s most respected names are behind this project. The singers are former Helloween and more recently Place Vendome singer Michael Kiske and Trillium singer and vocal coach Amanda Somerville but equally significantly a couple of Primal Fear members in guitarist Magnus Karlsson and bassist Mat Sinner, both of whom have a resume as long as your arm with European metal bands.
Five years after a debut album the protagonists are back with an album mainly written by Messrs Sinner and Karlsson, and the combination is a winning one which can have appeal to fans of melodic rock, traditional European power metal and the burgeoning female fronted symphonic metal scene.
‘City of Heroes’ is a stunning opener, powerful and guitar heavy but with big choruses and excellent use of backing and harmony vocals.
The two vocalists combine perfectly as they trade verses, both with soaring crystal clear voices, though it is Amanda who appears to take the lion’s share of the choruses. Her voice has a real melodic, almost poppy, feel which is brought out by the spacious arrangements on ‘Walk On Water’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘After The Night’.
Other highlights include ‘Ocean Of Tears’, a ballad enlivened by a great closing solo from Magnus and ‘Open Your Eyes’, which with its double kick drums is perhaps the nearest to Michael’s days in Helloween when they were seminal power metal pioneers. ‘Right Now’ ends on an anthemic note an excellent album. These studio collaborations do not always work, but on this occasion the ingredients have blended well to make an excellent album with wide appeal. **** 1/2
Review by Andy Nathan
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DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
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MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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