Label: Frontiers Music
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Reviewed by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur
The latest installment of symphonic metal that passed through my email is the new disc from Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville. This collaboration opens with the title track "City Of Heroes" and the disc is off and running with killer vocals, furious riffs, and a great tempo. "Walk On Water" opens with a beautiful piano/keyboard interlude that quickly morphs into a cool mellow metal track. The lead vocals from Kiske and Somerville nicely play off of each other when the two trade off vocals during the verse. "Salvation" leans a little heavier on guitar than some of the other tracks, but it doesn't detract from the solid playing of the rhythm section, which anchors the track - especially when Amanda unleashes her vocals during the bridge and later choruses. "Breaking Neptune" opens with a cool guitar piece that is reminiscent of 1980's rock. The vocals on this track build nicely from verse to chorus, especially when Michael and Amanda merge their vocal talents. "Open Your Eyes" has a great rhythmic opening that quickly shifts gears and converts to a cool driving track full of keyboards, guitar, vocals, and heavy bass - the latter compliments of Mat Sinner. "After The Night Is Over" has a power ballad feel to it that gives the track a different feel than most of the other tracks, but it also features some of Somerville's best vocals, as well as a great performance from Kiske.
"Rising Up" is another gem that opens with a cool symphonic sound that shifts gears and become a frantic piece that highlights not only the dual vocals, but the keyboard and guitar work of Magnus Karlsson. This track sets the pace for others on the disc. "Lights Out" is more guitar and keyboard fun, but the ferocious skin pounding from Veronika Lukesova drives this track from open to close. The tempo and mood of the track are controlled and tempered by the big drum sound. "Ocean Of Tears" is a different kind of ballad - not often something heard on a symphonic metal album. The lack of guitars and driving bottom end through the first half of the track allow the vocals to carry the track and prepare you for one of the best guitar solos on the disc. "Last Goodbye" brings a lot of killer components from the other tracks together, but the real highlight of this track is the vocals from Kiske. When he is given the room to run, he takes his performance to the next level. This is one of the better tracks on the disc. "Run With A Dream" has a different vibe due to tempo shifts between verses, choruses, and bridges, but gives the collection depth due to the different feel. Disc closer "Right Now" has a cool chugging guitar that carries the verse into the bridges and choruses. Amanda's vocals are a little deeper and heavier than her previous efforts on the disc, but they have a great contrast against Kiske's.
TRACKLIST: City of Heroes - Walk on Water - Rising Up - Salvation - Lights Out - Breaking Neptune - Ocean of Tears - Open Your Eyes - Last Goodbye - After The Night Is Over - Run With a Dream - Right Now
KISKE / SOMERVILLE LINKS: