Fans of AOR and the ones who have been following the Middle European music scene
during the past ten years probably picked up the news about Russell Allen and Jorn Lande joining
forces for Magnus Karlsson's most recent project in 2005. Five years later and
oddly enough, Helloween's ex-singer Michael Kiske, one of the most remarkable vocalists here
in Germany, and Amanda Somerville - mostly known for doing backing vocals for a
couple of renowned bands like Epica or Avantasia - put together the hard
rock/melodic metal duet project Kiske/Somerville with Mat Sinner (bass), Magnus Karlsson (guitar, keyboards) and Veronika Lukesova (drums). The pattern is quite
the same, so I knew what to expect. This year, the duet is back with a second
album called City Of Heroes.
one could probably tell from this project's name, vocalists Michael Kiske and
Amanda Somerville occupy center stage on this album: It's all about their vocals
and catchy sing-along melodies, and indeed, both their voices sound on point.
Although Kiske didn't make use of his legendary falsetto voice
anymore, he remains the strong vocalist we all know.
Regarding Somerville's abilities, I think she is one of the most underrated
vocalists in metal. Her voice is very versatile (check out Amadeus Awad's Eon's
Book Of Gates if you don't believe me) and it makes every other voice
shine - I actually believed that Simone Simons is a powerful singer until I
found out that Amanda was the powerful one in the background of Epica's first
three albums - but also sounds beautiful on its own: She totally rocked the few
shows she filled in for Simons during Epica's American/Canadian tour in 2008.
Both vocalists have done a great job on City Of Heroes and they sound
perfect together. Somerville shines the whole way through and also manages to
support Kiske's powerful vocals at the same time.
The main problem with this record, though, is that it doesn't reach beyond basic
radio-friendly heavy rock and the songs are mostly written in the same pattern.
Some songs, though, have turned out really nice, like the acoustic "After The
Night Is Over" or the first single "City Of Heroes". Overall, you can find the
obligatory heartfelt ballad and power metal track, modern synths and solos
everywhere on this record.
Everyone who is searching for exactly that or already likes other
typical Frontiers Records releases will surely enjoy City Of Heroes.
But people who are looking for challenging music won't be happy with this