Kiske/Somerville - Kiske/Somerville (2010)



If you're a fan of power metal then you should be familiar with Michael Kiske, former lead singer of Helloween, and Amanda Somerville, who is an American female vocalist that has done much work with bands like Kamelot, Avanstasia, Epica, and After Forever. Together they have formed a duet project and have released a full length self titled album. The record consists of a mixture of hard rock and power metal tones.

The first track, entitled "Nothing Left To Say," opens with heavily flanged guitar riffs giving off a strong futuristic sound. Speedy, up beat drums coming rolling in as guitars sore over them. Kiske enters the verse with his clean melodic vocals. He is accompanied by Somerville during the chorus which sets up a beautiful range of vocals. It's fast and catchy with emotion lyrics to seal the deal. A wicked guitar solo comes flying in towards the end, as are notes are being tossed around rapidly. As the song fades, you are hit with "Silence," which starts with gorgeous piano riffs layered with Kiske's high vocals. There are also some mellow orchestrated strings that back up the piano. Somerville takes over half way through the verse with her soothing voice, as the drums kick in the background. The way these two trade off verses really gives a soft, relaxing feel to the album. Especially when they sing together, mixing their vocals together.

"A Thousand Suns" kicks off with electrifying guitar riffs and splashing cymbals that quickly fade as Somerville enters with the verse. Soft bass and clean guitars surround her vocals. As the chorus builds, distorted guitars are slammed as crazy drum fills explode in the background. Layered together, their voices are filled with deep emotional lyrics in the refrain. Both showing so much passion in their vocals. Definitely learn the words because you're going to be singing along.

The tempo picks up in "Rain," as another heavily flanged guitar intro starts. The verses have got really punchy bass lines that accompany Kiske's vocals quite well. Somerville shows off her strong voice in the second verse. Basic kick and snare drumming provide a simple background so that you aren't distracted from the melodic singing. The refrain is very catchy as monstrous guitar riffs come blaring in with thunderous drum rolls behind them. The album slows back down with "One Night Burning," as angelic piano notes play to soothing strings. More basic kick and snare drums enter half way through the verse, as the cymbals start to build for the chorus. The refrain has Kiske singing the lower octave and Somerville singing the higher octave that sounds amazing together.

They do this a lot in the song "Second Chance" as well. The tone of their voices clashing together mixed with different octaves is just phenomenal. "Set A Fire" is the final song on the album and starts with powerful guitar riffs and dominating drums. The cymbals crash from left to right while the snare just pounds away at you. As the verse starts the drums continue with aggression as Somerville sores over top of it. The chorus has a great build to it as the guitars get louder and more violent with each chord. You're definitely going to be bobbing your head to this one. They end the album with a bang!

From fast tempos and violent drum fills to gentle piano and calm vocals, this album has it all. The structure of the album is very unique as the songs constantly change from aggressive to relaxing and really offers something to everyone. Let's hope they write a second album.

8/10

Official Michael Kiske site - http://www.michael-kiske.de/
Official Amanda Somerville site - http://www.amandasomerville.com/