|Review: The Unity - The Unity|
Year released: 2017
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Review online: May 22, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (6 Votes)
Two of The Unity's members are known for their contribution to the Power Metal community, them being Gamma Ray's own Henjo Richter (guitars) and Michael Ehré (drums, also ex-Metalium). Perhaps tired of making the same riffs and leads tried to exhaustion in Power Metal, Richter decided to do something very, very different: play the same riffs and leads elsewhere tried to exhaustion in Hard Rock/Melodic Metal. Shocking, huh?
According to the band themselves, "When haunting songs at the interface between Hard Rock and Melodic Metal meet with the excellent musical skills and extensive experience of all musicians involved, the result is bound to be brilliant." Is it, though? Well, not quite so, and it's not even close. There are certainly some winners on The Unity, but these are exceptions to the rule. The album has a couple of filler tunes and some completely disposable passages, so to call it "brilliant" is at least ludicrous. Opener "Rise and Fall" is a good effort that flirts with the more metal side of things. Packed with double-pedal drumming and really good guitar work, the song reminds an early Herman Frank tune, especially because of Manenti's vocal resemblance to Jiotis Parcharidis' (ex-Herman Frank, ex-Victory, ex-Human Fortress).
Also in the win department are the very interesting "God of Temptation", the bombastic "Firesign" and the more cadenced but very competent "Killer Instinct". The three, along with the already-mentioned "Rise and Fall", are the glue that holds the album together and the main reason why I didn't give the record a lower rating. "God of Temptation" is awesome and epic, with a vibe that takes us back to the great days of The Eternal Idol and Headless Cross-era Black Sabbath and "Firesign" is the opposite, being upbeat and with catchier and more unpretentious lines, while "Killer Instinct" provides a good balance between heaviness and melody.
The downside of the album is its middle portion. The uninspired ballad "Always Just You" and the ridiculous "Close to Crazy" see the band trying too much to accomplish a laid-back and cool vibe, which backfires completely. "The Wishing Well", "Edens Fire" and "Redeemer" are just OK but too generic, and none of them feature any sort of climax nor take off in a bombastic or remarkable way. The first and second ones have that Euro "popish" atmosphere distilled by bands such as H.E.A.T. and Harem Scarem, while the third one brings a rock 'n' roll attitude to the table with lots of guitar distortions and a 1980's keyboard background. "Never Forget" closes the album and, ironically enough, it's best that we forget about it altogether.
When you actually say that the result of your album "is bound to be brilliant", you'd better know what the fuck you're talking about. Sadly for Richter, Ehré and their loyal rocker friends, brilliant is not a word I would associate The Unity with, not in a million years. That being said, I find the record to be utterly forgettable. The majority of the compositions fall short of mesmerizing or surprising the listener in any way and the band has yet to find its identity; until then, Richter and Ehré are better off sticking to Gamma Ray.
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