Band: The Unity
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Power metal is a tricky genre, few bands have early albums that are enjoyable for prolonged amounts of time and even fewer release albums that knock expectations out of the park early into their careers. When I first saw the cover art for “Rise”, I had one thought, that this band would be in the camp of power metal based more on traditional metal with few fantastical elements like Falconer, Unleash the Archers, and Helloween. However, the second I started up the first track, I realized that I was wrong and that this band should have been on my radar long before now. The Unity has a chance to become one of the decades defining power metal bands, the only other power metal band I can think of with a debut and second album this consistently good are Gloryhammer which is no small feat.
The instant that the album starts up, it is a ride that takes the listener through an intro followed by twelve amazing albums until an hour has passed and you realize that you’re going to have to wait years until this band releases more sonic gold. While not every song on this album is a clean hit, they do all hit for sure. There’s a little bit of something in this album for everyone, whether you’re here for some nice guitar porn, a catchy chorus, soaring vocals, or creative, enjoyable, and inspiring lyrics. At times The Unity jump back and forth between symphonic power metal, power metal, and traditional heavy metal with a safe layering of almost poppy vocals. Some songs feel just a little to vocal-centric at parts such as the opening of track four “The Storm” but this is always counteracted by a sick solo.
There are a lot of enjoyable riffs in this album, the love present in each and every lick is apparent from the get-go. While in some songs they do lose a little creativity such as the aforementioned track “The Storm”. The guitar tones are an interesting choice as well, they have much more of a chug or fuzz to them than one would expect from power metal. Near the end of the album, songs begin feeling odd compared to the rest of the album, the first one that comes to mind and the one that brought this fact to my attention is actually “L.I.F.E” the final track that feels like an odd mix of dream theater and a song from a Disney musical lost to time. I must say that “L.I.F.E” and “The Storm” are my two least favorite tracks, both feeling repetitive halfway through the first listen and plain boring on subsequent listens.
I don’t know anyone who would be calling this group heavy by any stretch of the imagination, however, fantastical seems to be the right word for them. A lot of the songs are very fun to sing along to, one of my favorites is “Welcome Home” and it’s made even better by the vocalist belting out high note after high note, I must say that the pipes on that man are awe-inspiring. Occasionally songs will have callbacks to certain styles of power metal inspired by different bands, the chorus to “Welcome Home” feels like it was pulled straight from an unreleased Helloween song and makes me smile every time I hear it. Meanwhile some songs like “No Hero” invite Edguy fans to sit down and be entranced by song writing resembling the band at their prime with The Unity putting in their own twists defining it as a sound they can take on and challenge.
Something I didn’t understand when going into this album is “Why name your band The Unity? That seems so contrived and awkward” but now I understand that they unify the sound of many classic and new bands, making a smoothie for power metal fans to enjoy with one-hundred-percent of their daily recommended intake of Dronjak(Hammerfall), Hansen(Gamma Ray), and Turilli(Solo and Rhapsody of Fire) style solos; seventy-eight-percent of keyboard intake styled after the great Robert Pena (Dark Moor) and Jens Johansson (Stratovarius). I also feel like this is the perfect time to mention that this band includes two members of Gamma-ray, Michael Ehre on drums and Henjo Richter on guitar. The amount of love and care put into this album is absolutely remarkable and even when it fumbles it still pleases the crowd. If I had to put my money on it, I would say that fifteen years from now I just might be reviewing another album that I can say took inspiration from “Classic The Unity” like most power metal bands of the future
2. Last Betrayal
3. You Got Me Wrong
4. The Storm
5. Road to Nowhere
6. Welcome Home
7. All That is Real
8. No Hero
9. The Willow Tree
10. Above Everything
11. Children of the Light
12. Better Day
Total Playing Time: 57:25
The epitome of power metal and folk metal (although a big fan of doom too). You can catch me playing/writing for dungeons and dragons with my friends at the local tabletop game store.