The Unity – Pride
(Nuclear Blast - 2020)
While this release made its debut in March of 2020, I did not have the chance to listen to 'Pride' until recently.
I had heard many positive things about The Unity, which lead me to their previous albums as well as following the band on social media in search of a copy of 'Pride'. While 'Pride' is not brand new to long time fans of The Unity or those fortunate enough to see them live; the band is relatively new to me and to many others in different parts of the world, particularly the US. This is often my reason when writing about certain bands, and releases, even though they have been in circulation for months. There are always music fans some place in the world that hunger for something new; something they may not be aware of.
'Pride' is the third release by The Unity. Generally, by a band’s third album they have established an identity. Due to the band’s assortment of metal greats, their earlier albums pulled from their individual influences. 'Pride' retains the influential consistency, but the band has evolved and come into their own.
One of the attributes of 'Pride' is its diversity. While the backbone of the album resides in the power metal genre, there are several tracks that reach beyond and demonstrate the talented musicianship of the band as a whole. The intense, genius, drumming of Michael Ehre’ and the thumbing bass of Jogi Sweers, complete the rhythm section and provide the pulse of the album. Duo guitar virtuosos, Henjo Richter and Stefan Ellerhorst and keyboardist, Sascha Onnen weave in and out through a variety of tracks providing melodic sequences.
'The New Pandora' is not the obligatory power metal instrumental; it is a haunting, melancholy introduction that begins with a poignant acoustic guitar then transitions into electric brilliance with hints of Leatherwolf’s 'Rise and Fall'.
Evolving into 'Hands of Time' with its rock anthem character; starts off with astounding guitar work from Henjo Richter. This was my first introduction to vocalist, Gianbattista ( Jan) Maneti who proves that he is a powerhouse. 'Line and Sinker' could easily find its home in the days of AOR radio. With 1980s fashionable keyboard and Wah peddle sound, it reads as a long-lost album track from days gone by.
While I was impressed with the whole album there were several tracks that stood out by their distinctive originality. 'Damn Nation' is evocative of classic Gamma Ray until Mr. Manenti’s vocals take charge which produces a magnificent marriage of a classic sound with a unique vocalist. 'Scenery of Hate' is a faster paced, take no prisoner, choice owned by Michael Ehre’s drum pummeling intensity.
I was also stunned by 'Wave of Fear'; it is a haunting, beautifully crafted piece filled with tempo changes and esoteric keyboard work by Onnen. While listening to 'You Don’t Walk Alone', I located the song’s video on YouTube. Beforehand my notes on the song referred to it as a 1980s power ballad. The video reinforced my thought pattern; by this I was referring to a time when rock and metal ruled the airwaves and video world. In other words, songs that could sell a million - like this one.
'Rusty Cadillac' is an oddball compared to the rest of the album, but I love it. The track has an American blues feel complete with horns and incredible guitar solos.
Out of what I have experienced from The Unity thus far, Pride is in a league of its own. The album has a range of variety coupled with well written, well produced tracks and diverse talented band members. If you are unfamiliar with The Unity, Pride is a perfect introduction.
By Dawn Belotti