Do you like melody? Do you like duets? And do you like POOOWEEER?!? Then this album has you covered. This project between Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville has produced a beast that’s every bit as forceful and epic as it is catchy, and even moving at times, with the stunning vocal talent from both singers really delivering on the emotional front. The duets between the two are really the highlight of the release, with some songs mainly including harmonies and others being more of an interaction between the two.
The titular “City of Heroes” is one of the definite highlights, opening the album in an uplifting, upbeat explosion of sound. “Rising Up” may be even better, with its very fast rhythm and catchy chorus putting it somewhere among the best songs of the album. The style of music can be described as somewhere between DRAGONFORCE and WITHIN TEMPTATION’s more recent work, with the drums being a massive driving force and propelling the synth and guitars up into the stratosphere.
The synth is an essential part of the mix, providing the introduction for the majority of the songs, as well as being the backbone of the record, possibly more so than the drums. Magnus Karlsson has done a great job in both of his roles, giving every track a melody that is enhanced massively by the vocals. It would be easy to imagine that the bass has been smothered by the plethora of other sounds that it supports, but that is fortunately not the case, as it is still present and correct alongside the drums.
One strange thing that happened to me while listening to the album was that I felt an overwhelming urge to sing along to each track, and found myself doing so during the occasional chorus, despite being clueless as to what the lyrics were. That’s not the result of a language barrier either; for a mostly German project, it’s surprising that all the lyrics sound so clear in English.
The softer songs are worth mentioning, as well as the powerful ones, as they give the vocalists a chance to show off. “Ocean of Tears” is a good example, using strings to provide a minimalistic backing sound to Kiske and Somerville, who belt out a heartfelt duet that is perhaps the best emotional display of the record.
There is virtually nothing negative to say about this album; it’s long enough without being too long, it’s varied, the production is top notch, and the musical quality is fantastic. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out. Go and listen to it.
…Well go on then!
1. City of Heroes 2. Walk on Water 3. Rising Up 4. Salvation 5. Lights Out 6. Breaking Neptune 7. Ocean of Tears 8. Open Your Eyes 9. Last Goodbye 10. After the Night is Over 11. Run with a Dream 12. Right Now
Michael Kiske - Vocals Amanda Somerville - Vocals Mat Sinner - Bass, Backing Vocals Magnus Karlsson - Guitars, Keyboards Veronika Lukesova - Drums