Kiske/Somerville – Kiske/Somerville [2010]

KISKE_SOMERVILLE_ST

`Frontiers records’ has come up with some rather original ideas for melodic albums but this one is really genius. `Kiske – Sommerville’, as the title suggests and most are already aware, is a melodic hard rock/metal album based on vocals duets of legendary German vocalist Michael Kiske and female vocal authority Amanda Somerville.

I suppose there is not much reason to go into details regarding the abilities and approaches of the two singers as they are both metal idols at their own right while their contribution on this album has been very much explored by other reviewers.With that in mind I would like to stand on the other factors (beyond Michael and Amanda) that make this album such a musical success and for that matter are just as important as the names on the front cover.

A key success factor was bringing to the project possibly the most capable songwriting core of `Frontiers records’ that of bassist Mat Sinner and guitarist Magnus Karlsson. Both have been known for delivering amazing melodic works in the genres of melodic AOR, hard rock and metal; and the collaboration of the seasoned Mat with the younger Magnus ideally balances old school and modern influences on the album. The album features additional songwriting by Keyboard player Jimmy Kresic and Amanda, the material they come up with is more mid tempo and symphonic/orchestra-oriented. So closing the songwriting part, the listener does enjoy a variety of rock and metal styles throughout `Kiske/Somerville’ while all songs are consistent in big melodies and stellar production.

In terms of performing line-up the project finds Matt Sinner on bass guitar, Magnus Karlsson on lead guitar, Sander Gommans also on lead guitar, Jimmy Kresic on keyboards while drum duties are divided between Ramy Ali and Martin Schmidt. Instrument-wise this project continues to surprise as Sinner’s bass is louder and more aggressive than one would expect, Magnus’ solos are instantly recognizable and never compromised in their length, while the drumming is far more intense than anyone would have anticipated, referring not only to the double bass attack but to the very technical stick work that is to be found throughout the album.

Yes, “Kiske-Somerville” does capture the best of Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville still it goes on to offer the listener much more that simply an all star project. It is impossible to find any fault on this album: 1)The concept is original 2) The songwriting is diverse yet consistently melodic 3) the singers live up to their reputation while uncovering much more of their vocal abilities than expected 4) the performance on instruments unforgettable and 5) it is all topped by possibly the greatest production ever. The limited edition features a 12th bonus track `Set Afire’ and a DVD with the two breathtaking promo videos for `If I had a wish’ and `Silence’.

Band Members
Amanda Somerville – Vocals
Jimmy Kresic – Keyboards
Magnus Karlsson – Lead Guitar, Guitar, Keyboards
Martin Schmidt – Drums
Mat Sinner – Bass, Backing Vocals
Michael Kiske – Vocals
Rami Ali – Drums
Sander Gommans – Lead Guitar

Tracks
01. Nothing Left To Say (4:37)
02. Silence (6:21)
03. If I Had A Wish (4:20)
04. Arise (3:14)
05. End Of The Road (5:10)
06. Don’t Walk Away (4:31)
07. A Thousand Suns (3:58)
08. Rain (3:47)
09. One Night Burning (4:04)
10. Devil In Her Heart (4:25)
11. Second Chance (4:55)
12. Set A Fire [Bonus Track] (3:58)
12. One Night Burning {Acoustic Version} [Japan Bonus Track]

Nikiforos V. Skoumas

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Kiske/Somerville - Kiske/Somerville [2010], 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating