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UNISONIC Light Of Dawn

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, October 6, 2014 @ 4:58 PM

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Light Of Dawn

Armoury Records - 2014

The second album from UNISONIC opens with one of those table setting instrumental pieces. This one is called "Venite 2.0". You would think that after all these years with the various bands featuring singer Michael Kiske and guitarist Kai Hansen using this format to kick off their albums, things would get a little stale. But thankfully, the track does a really superb job of setting up the overall thematic sense of the album.

When "Your Time Has Come" follows up the opener, it explodes out of the speakers and keeps up a chillingly electric pace you can feel coursing through your veins throughout the song.

Kiske's vocals are high pitched as fans are likely to be expecting. And while I do love his singing, the higher pitch in the vocal register can sometimes be a bit numbing. So I was glad to see the band mix things up a little to vary the vocal offerings.

On the song "Not Gonna Take It Anymore", you get a near a capella vocal opening and a more mid tempo song structure. Kiske's vocal performance is more shaded and that style choice gives a bit more weight to the track. The guitar solo is fantastic. The entire band is credited with writing the songs on Light Of Dawn, but I would love to know who actually did the lyrics for this particular track. Lines like "One voice can be heard above the crowd / One voice, it can resonate oh so loud / I raise my head then I shout out so justly proud" and "I break the silence / I am defiance - without violence" are just magnificent.

The band released a video for the lead track "Exceptional". The song starts off with a deliberately heavy but restrained vibe. You can almost hear the soundtrack begging to be let out of a cage so it can rock out. When that happens, the melody rings true but I have to say that I found the lyrics a bit boring. This hurts the overall marketability of the album in my mind. While not a bad song, it isn't what I would consider good enough to be the first song to try and get listeners hooked on the new album.

Meanwhile, the nasty little tone in the main riff on "For The Kingdom" makes the fast paced cut work extremely well.

Without a doubt, the best song title for the album is "Night Of The Long Knives". It is another track that employs a slow vocal based opening but them splits off to a more up tempo delivery. The lyrics are a bare bones version of what I think could be a great fantasy novel. One of the better examples (and honestly a lot of this song could be used to describe real world situations as well) in the writing for this song is as follows: "Soon the henchmen return from the purge of the nation / Then is given the word to begin liquidation / Like a turn of the page it was said and done / And a hundred of minions were executed one by one".

A couple of rockers featured some sweet guitar licks I enjoyed a lot. The riff in the open for "Find Shelter" was excellent and I loved the solo in "Throne Of Dawn". But the song "Manhunter" was a bit of a bore despite the electrifying delivery.

By the way, I was struck by the sci-fi/steampunk style that made up the majority of the album artwork. The throwback style depicting a futuristic setting was an inspired touch.

The pacing of the album slows down on a couple of tracks. "Blood" kicks things off acoustically but just over a minute into the song it becomes more of a power rock driven number. Overall, I thought the song was okay but it didn't set any hearts aflutter. As for the closing track "You and I", it is a "power ballad" format for the song though the lyrics are quite a notch above what you might expect from that kind of song. While I would've preferred the track listing sequence to put a faster song as the closer, this was quite an impressive song all on its own.

Light Of Dawn is a solid follow up to last year's debut album from the band. They have everything that you might expect to find. The soaring vocals, the searing guitar fretwork and a pounding rhythmic foundation. There are points where things get bogged down but overall, consider Unisonic as a band that has avoided that dreaded sophomore slump.

4.0 Out Of 5.0

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