Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: ISSA “Sign of Angels”

ISSA is a melodic hard rock band featuring the remarkable vocals of 26 year old Isabell Oversveen, an exceptionally gifted singer from Norway. Producer Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon) is at the helm, and the project features masterful players such as Peter Huss on guitar, Uli Kusch (ex Masterplan, Helloween) on drums, Nobby Noberg on bass and Tim Larsson (Nick Lachey) on keyboards. ISSA is described as “Brother Firetribe meets Treat with tons of melodies, class and attitude”.

ISSA’s debut, “Sign of Angels” is a collection of highly enjoyable modern AOR. Her soaring vocals work well whether she is accompanied by shredding guitars or the sweeping strings of an over-the-top power ballad. The production is incredibly slick, almost to the point where the music sounds like it couldn’t have been performed by mere human beings, and they overdo the orchestral stabs in some places. The songs deliver the stereotypical themes of encouragement, love, and mild angst that you’d expect on an AOR release, but ISSA delivers the messages in style, shrouded in layers of solid hooks and harmonies. Lots of great tracks to choose from, but for me the cream of the crop consist of “I’m Alive” and “Closer”. For those of you who think there is still plenty of room in the world for more power ballads, be sure to check out “Give Me A Sign”, “Unbelievable”, and “It’s Not Me”.

ISSA is like a female-fronted Journey and, for a fan of AOR, I can think of no better compliment. "Sign of Angels" will be released in the US/ Canada on October 12th 2010.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11

ISSA - Official site.