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The Unity album cover

After almost 18 months in the making, 2017 sees the release of the much anticipated self-titled debut album from The Unity.  Formed by Gamma Ray members Michael Ehré (drums) and Henjo Richter (guitar) the band are then completed by a four other equally strong musicians in the form of Italian vocalist Gianba Manenti, guitarist Stef E, bassist Jogi Sweers and keyboardist Sascha Onnen. With a line-up such as this it’s easy to see why this album has generated so much excitement and in their own words has created a “band which consists of six first-rate songwriters.”

The Unity are described as being “at the interface between hard rock and melodic metal” and this is abundantly clear when you start listening to the record. One thing the album does not lack is power with strong and satisfying riffs on show throughout the twelve tracks on the record. ‘No More Lies’ in particular kicks into a punchy riff following a short spoken intro. Further strong riffs can also be heard on ‘God of Temptation’ and ‘Killer Instinct’.

However, to merely focus on “power” would neglect the band’s very obvious diverse musical abilities. With their debut release, The Unity wanted “to ensure a diverse album that doesn’t sound boring for a second” and they have definitely achieved that. There is plenty of variety on offer both in terms of the individual tracks but also within the songs themselves. ‘Firesign’ for example begins with an orchestral intro before kicking into a powerful track complete with a sweeping chorus and ‘Close to Crazy’ is a three and a half minute effort which does not let up on the pace from start to finish. Even ‘Super Distortion’ which only comes in at just over a minute, allows you to get a sense of the band’s varied sound. The album closes with ‘Never Forget’ which is the most melodic song on the record with atmospheric keyboards and an almost operatic chorus.

What is evident from this album is that all six members of the band are given a chance to showcase their own individual talents and no-one is allowed to get lost in the background. This is no doubt partly due to the fact ‘The Unity’ was produced by the musicians themselves, mostly at Ehré’s own B Castle Studio. This has allowed them to shape the sound they want to and the album has certainly benefitted from this approach. Overall ‘The Unity’ is a very strong debut release and one that is “guaranteed to unite fans of both hard rock and melodic metal.”

4/5 stars

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