Two bands, one album
Following the collapse of German heavy metal band; Love.Might.Kill in 2015, bassist Jogi Sweers, guitarist Stefan Ellerhorst, keyboardist Sascha Onnen and vocalist Jan Manenti found themselves at a loose end. Joining forces with drummer Michael Ehré and guitarist Henjo Richter from fellow Germans; Gamma Ray, they began to work on a new project in 2016. This project was named The Unity and the band released their self-titled full-length album in 2017.
‘The Unity’ is just as you would imagine from members of their respective bands, it is fast paced, powerful and hugely melodic, not only owing to the skills of the musicians of Gamma Ray, but from Love. Might. Kill, you get some fantastic melodic passages mixed with the high end power metal that you would expect from Gamma Ray and that makes ‘The Unity’ easy and very fun to listen to.
Kicking off with an almighty string bend, ‘The Unity’ begins with the classic era Yngwie Malmsteen sounding ‘Rise and Fall’ with a pre-chorus that wouldn’t be out of place on an Iced Earth album. This blend quickly grabs you and pulls you in and would not appeal to fans of the above, but also fans of Edguy, Iron Savior and later Helloween. Following a fantastic opener, ‘The Unity’ presents ‘No More Lies’, the song in which we see The Unity deliver their first music video. ‘No More Lies’ features a Judas Priest style riff and we get to see the first glimpse of that Love.Might.Kill style melodic nature fitting perfectly within the The Unity mould. Yes, ‘No More Lies’ borders on the cheese factor and wouldn’t be out of place in 1987, but that’s what makes this record so endearing. ‘The Unity’ has a familiar feel to it from the start and not only does that pull you in, but it helps you learn to love it very quickly and it is a guarantee that before the second play through, you will be humming along if not singing with their memorable and easy chorus’.
As an album, ‘The Unity’ never lets up, ‘God of Temptation’, ‘Always Just You’ and ‘Close to Crazy’ solidify an already strong album, the former song even containing an Iron Maiden style whoa whoa whoa section and you can see how this would fit perfectly within the live environment. However, the albums best track is reserved for halfway through; ‘The Wishing Well’ turns ‘The Unity’ into the killer album it is. ‘The Wishing Well’ is a song that covered in the 80’s in all its pomp and ceremony, as it manages to transport you back to 1985 with a chorus that is reminiscent of something from Bon Jovi’s ‘7800o Fahrenheit’. It will definitely be that one little earworm that works its way in and manages to lift the album up from not just another power metal album, but also a melodic masterpiece. This can also be seen with the Edguy sounding ‘Close to Crazy’ in which the chorus would not be out of place on any Edguy record with Manenti even getting close to sounding like Tobias Sammet with a scream towards the end.
However, do not be lulled into thinking that ‘The Unity’ spends far too much time trying to be somebody else, everything that The Unity have released on their debut album has their mark stamped all over it and it certainly does not sound like Love.Might.Kill and Gamma Ray have bashed themselves together to create an album that sounds like an amalgamation of both bands because it is certainly not. One thing is certain though, ‘The Unity’ sounds better than anything that Gamma Ray have released in a long time and with Love.Might.Kill split up, then The Unity is the only way to go.
Adam McCann/ MHF Magazine