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When news broke of a reunion between Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske, the metal community took a breath, held it, and dug out their old Keepers records to remind themselves of what Unisonic had in store. Upon purchase, most probably listened to the first five tracks and tried to get their money back, unable to comprehend that after twenty five years the music these guys decided to make didn't sound at all like what they made when they were young men. I mean, just imagine it. The horror! But naturally, this wasn't going to be packed full of songs like "March Of Time", and if you're a fan of recent Kiske material you will understand that and take the record for what it is. Hell, you might even enjoy it.
This is exactly what fans of Gamma Ray and Place Vendome will expect from a modern Kiske and Hansen collaboration. It's certainly the liveliest artifact Kiske has lent his voice to in recent years, and he shines here in a way he hasn't since his heyday. You can hear Hansen's song writing contributions a mile off, but mostly these tracks revolved around Kiske with particular emphasis on the vocal lines. The only real clunker is "No One Ever Sees Me", the album's parting ballad. Beyond that, Unisonic deliver hit after hit. The silly "Never Too Late" recalls an old Gamma Ray tune, "Time To Break Free", while "Never Change Me" is a radio-friendly AOR attempt that gets the foot tapping from the get-go. "Renegade" is the most metal thing here, with a chorus that grasps at power metal and almost reaches it, and the now infamous opener "Unisonic" throttles at full speed, a triumphant anthem that will slay the live stage.
There are a couple of questionable moments that take us from familiar territory. "Star Rider" requires a number of listens before developing a taste for it. Similarly "I've Tried" isn't all that engaging, but a strong chorus makes it an unexpected curiosity. At times, this album does stray towards hard rock, but it never sounds out of place amongst the heavier segments. This is certainly not half as bad as some reviewers claim; in fact, if you've followed the careers of Kiske and Hansen over the years, you'll probably love every moment. It's a very pleasant album, perfect for the casual mood. Just don't expect Keepers Part IV. Please, guys. I'm begging you.
Originally scribbled at www.metalcrypt.com