'City Of Heroes'
Release Date: 17th April 2015
As well as releasing albums by Toto and Whitesnake, among many others, Italian rock label Frontiers put together projects featuring musicians they know and one of the most successful was the Kiske/Somerville album in 2010.
Featuring ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville of Trillium and Avantasia the melodic Metal vibe of the album gained a lot of fans and now five years later they have reunited once more.
Like many other Metal related projects if you look at the small print you will see the name of Mat Sinner a lot and as on the previous Kiske/Somerville release that's the case here with most of the songs coming from Sinner and his Primal Fear compatriot Magnus Karlsson. This results in a feeling of continuity from the debut album and the melodic Metal with symphonic touches style of the original album has just been tweaked and perfected.
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There are no surprises here then but what you get is a beautifully produced album with a lush, full sound. There are fantastic melody lines from both the vocals and guitars all over the songs and the band put together for this album all deliver the perfect backing for the two stars. The guitar work from Karlsson in particular is stellar with some beautiful lead lines and fiery melodic solos.
The two singers involved both deliver the kind of smooth, perfectly judged job you would expect from such experienced and talented professionals. Michael Kiske's voice is a little deeper than in his Helloween days but seems stronger for it. Ms Somerville meanwhile has always had a strong melodic voice which wraps around you like a warm, comforting bath and she puts it to full use here extracting every ounce of emotion out of the songs.
The two of them are used to working together in Avantasia and they manage to blend their vocal styles so they are perfectly in tune although it sounds to me like there is a little more focus on the female half of the vocals this time.
The song writing is once again pretty strong and highlights include the stirring melodic Metal of the title track, the epic melodic/pop metal crossover of 'Salvation' and the obligatory symphonic Metal ballad of 'Ocean Of Tears' which is just brilliantly done.
There are no real weak links in the songs but I do find that when playing the album all the way through by the time you get to later tracks like 'Run With A Dream' and 'Right Now', despite the quality the formula the songs are written to starts to be noticeable.
'Breaking Neptune' is the sole non Sinner/Karlsson penned tune here having been written by Amanda Somerville herself along with Sander Gommans (ex After Forever) and it does sound slightly different with it's circling riff and use of time changes but still fits well on the album. Maybe adding some more variety to the song writing would have made the album even better.
Overall this is a cracking melodic Metal album, ideal for anyone who likes great vocals and cracking riffs matched to flowing melodic Metal guitar hooks and memorable choruses. It is a shame that with their other commitments it is unlikely that we will ever see a Kiske/Somerville tour as I think live this would all sound absolutely fantastic.
Meanwhile let's all just enjoy the album and hope that we don't have to wait another five years for the third one.
Lead & Backing Vocals by Michael Kiske & Amanda Somerville
Guitars & Keyboards: Magnus Karlsson
Bass & Backing Vocals: Mat Sinner
Drums: Veronika Lukesova