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Issa – Sign of Angels

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD
Released: 2010
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba
Rating: 8.5/ 10


Wow, this bomb(shell) just exploded out of nowhere! In a day and age where female fronted metal/hard rock bands are a dime a dozen and many often do not make enough of an impact to garnish attention or take off comes Issa! This 26 year old sexy Scandinavian woman has arrived and made her mark with this excellent debut. Hopefully she is going nowhere but to the top.

 

Backed up by a metal cast that many fans of the European power metal circuit would recognize we have: Uli Kusch (Helloween, Masterplan, Gamma Ray) on drums, Nobby Noberg (Saint Deamon) on bass and Peter Huss (Sinergy) on guitars. The only not so metal member of the band but a splendid player nonetheless is keyboardist Tim Larsson who has played with pop teen idol Nick Lachey. In addition to these players, "Sign of Angels" has a lot of metal background to it as Joacim Cans (HammerFall) and Thomas Vikstrom (Candlemass) are among those who have song writing credits here.

The music itself is very pop laden hard rock but do not let the pop description scare you away as the music does pack enough of a punch to be enjoyed by fans of hard rock and metal worldwide. I say "pop" in the sense that Issa’s voice is more comparable to great singers like Natasha Bedingfield and Kelly Clarkson and not so much the metal ladies like Doro Pesch, Simone from Epica or Tarja (formerly of Nightwish).

First single ‘I’m Alive’ (you can catch the video on YouTube) is very uplifting about finally being free from a relationship gone stale and doing well on your own. This is a very catchy tune and something that would be huge if played on American radio or given airtime on a video outlet like Fuse or MTV (well that’s if MTV decides to air some music videos and not Jersey Shore all day, haha). Somebody needs to do their job and get this out to the masses! ‘How Will I Know’ opens with an awesome keyboard section on top of crunchy guitars that fans of keyboard heavy bands like Nightwish and Kamelot will definitely grin. ‘As I Live and Breathe’ is one of my favorites here which has a country meets hard rock vibe to it, imagine mashing up Carrie Underwood or Lady Antebellum with "Rocket Ride" era Edguy.. this is really good stuff! ‘Flying High’ is another highlight which again has a very modern Edguy tone to it with a vocal performance that will have Lita Ford eating her heart out!

This album was quite a surprise and will rank well in my year end Top 20 album list. Hopefully Issa really takes off but my fear is that corporate leaders in the pop world will get a hold of this great singer and lure her away from this hard rock/metal scene which she has shed a great breath of fresh air to. With Frontiers now having distribution in North America Issa should be their first order of business. I am very much hoping for a follow up and this not being a onetime thing. The music without a doubt does the talking.

 
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