The Unity – “The Unity” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Founded by Gamma Ray members Michael Ehré (drums) and guitarist Henjo Richter (Firewind, Uli Jon Roth, Unisonic), The Unity is a melodic hard rock metal band new to the scene! Completed by Love.Might.Kill members Gianba Manenti (vocals), guitarist Stef Ellerhorst, bassist Jogi Sweers and keyboardist Sascha Onnen, The Unity has been forged by the longtime bond between Ehré and Richter’s desire to take their composing to a new level, backed by 4 eager and talented musicians in their own right. While there isn’t any signature sound across the 12 tracks on the debut, the consistencies of power and melody resonate throughout, not to mention tremendous passion and heart with Manenti literally singing his lungs out in what must be one of the sterling vocal performances of the year! From the Dio era Rainbow style of ‘Redeemer’, completed by church bells, Onnen’s 70s keys along with an epic, singalong chorus, Manenti’s pipes take you right back to that era as Richter does fine justice through his neo classical soloing. Moving into the 80s the subtle initial orchestrals of ‘Never Forget’ soon give way to the synth harmonies and a strong US AOR chorus reminiscent of bands like Tyketto with Manetti matching the emotional highs of the song with his own vocally. Despite the bountiful melodies what I like is the contrasting raw metallic guitars of Richter and Ellerhorst which add that heaviness before flowing themselves into 80s style soloing. ‘The Wishing Well’ is stomping hard rock at its best, with its powerful back beat, squealing guitars, monster singalong chorus and Manetti’s sopranos threatening to break the sound barrier – not to mention give me a heart attack – in what must be a high even on this album of impressive material. With the blistering opener ‘Rise And Fall’ showing how the The Unity can go balls out through razor riffing and double bass drumming, Manetti’s slightly throat raw vocals and fierce shout outs from the rest of the band bring back memories of bands like Victory and that might just be what’s so good about this alliance, that of taking the best of the old and bringing it back through some of the best talent in the new!