City Of Heroes

1. City of Heroes
2. Walk on Water
3. Rising Up
4. Salvation
5. Lights Out
6. Breaking Neptune
7. Ocean of Tears
8. Open Your Eyes
9. Last Goodbye
10. After The Night Is Over
11. Run With a Dream
12. Right Now

Michael Kiske - Lead & Backing Vocals
Amanda Somerville - Lead & Backing Vocals
Magnus Karlsson - Guitars & Keyboards
Mat Sinner - Bass & Backing Vocals
Veronika Lukesova - Drums

S/T (2010)


Produced by Mat Sinner & Jacob Hansen

Released 2015-04-17
Reviewed 2015-03-26


I think I fooled myself a bit when I got this album, at least that’s how I feel some ten plus runs in to this 56 minutes long album. I got the idea, yeah I admit even fooled myself to believe, that ’City Of Heroes’ was a power metal album. Ay ay ay… how could I’ve been so wrong!

Sure, we hear the most iconic voice from the power metal - the one of Michael Kiske, and we hear things like keyboards, double bass drums and sometimes a really rapid tempo without getting particularly heavy… things we’ve got used to hear from this more or less sleeping genre. But it’s still not power metal. Power metal is not what this is. Metal power this is not. Not is this power metal. Why? Short answer - this is more of a pop album with one foot in the metal genre. You might think that this is bad but I don’t think so, this is definitely an album worth checking out! So here comes the long answer…

Besides Michael Kiske, this band is fronted by (which the band name suggest) Amanda Somerville and then also a couple of dudes and another girl. While Falsetto tenor Kiske and contralto Somerville does the vocals, Mat Sinner and Magnus Karlsson breaks fingers on the strings and behind the drumkit is a Veronica Lukesova whom we haven’t seen before either in a Hallowed review or on a Frontiers release. The other four, though, has been on several reviews and Frontiers releases as well as the debut from five years ago but I’d say Karlsson has the most interesting past. A few years ago he was the brain that put together Allen/Lande and did two albums with the duo before deciding enough’s enough and left the project to Timo Tolkki. So he’s been involved in two bands with two divas… maybe a bit unimaginative but this album feels like the best that at least I’ve heard of these.

The cover art looks very much like Frontiers covers usually do with this kind of music: some fire, a couple of angels and a logo in gold. We’ve seen it before and we’ve also heard this before because it’s not really revolutionising music. The album kicks off with the title track and that’s a nice song that sets the standard quite high immediately. All though radical ideas are rare on this album, variation still comes throughout the entire album. The title track is a speedy track with some rock ’n’ roll vibes in an otherwise quite ”pumpkin-ish” metal and the duet vocals rule the chorus while the verses are sung separately (as in most of these twelve tracks). Walk On Water comes second and it’s a track that goes stronger on the keys and vocal roles are shared more intensely but I have some issues figuring out if it’s suppose to be a heavy track or a soft one because it’s a bit too much metal to be radio material yet still not way off being a ballad or at least a power ballad. Either way it’s a good track, one of the best, but don’t expect grandma to agree with you on that. Track three and four are more Somerville tracks and both goes in mid-tempo, both are quite similar sound-wise and none of them really stand out.

Kiske gets more space in Lights Out but I take a sigh of relieve as Breaking Neptune finally puts some more quality back in the game. Vocal roles are divided more or less equal here as in Ocean Of Tears, though that’s a ballad compared to the two previous ultra high speed tracks and I think it could go all the way to become Eurovision Song Contest winner had it only been participating because it’s that catchy. However, I feel they could have made the Switch to Open Your Eyes better because that song is a nice anthem with epic solos and everything but it starts completely different to how Ocean Of Tears ends. Just wrong. Open Your Eyes have a really nice chorus but is otherwise good but not great, Last goodbye is very anonymous but After The Night Is Over is a better one, especially because of the chorus… but especially because of the verse. I feel it’s probably the best track on the album, along with Breaking Neptune and Walk On Water even though concluding Right Now is a good contender too.

So, what we have here is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, much more so than the debut. It’s an album pretending to be power metal but definitely has more relation to melodic music, even modern genres and radio adaptation… but it has power metal vibes. The quality is mostly good but not steady high. Ups and downs, just like the landscape in Norway. Kiske and Somerville goes well together and though the music is quite simple itäs well played and the song material not only varied in quality but also sound-wise. If you’re a fan of the things these guys have done before then your set. I would say you’re set if you normally buy Frontiers albums as well. So, in other words - a pretty decent album.




Label: Frontiers
Three similar bands: Amaranthe/Place Vendome/Trillium
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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