Gabrielle De Val (Koenzen) is best remembered by a couple of albums she released with her band The Val, she now has a new superb album out under her own name in 2023 courtesy of Escape Music.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Gabrielle De Val
ALBUM: Kiss In A Dragon Night
LABEL: Escape Music
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Spain
LINEUP: Gabrielle de Val – lead vocals * Robin McAuley, Mark Boals, Mick Devine, Terry Brock, Steve Overland – co lead vocals * Steve Overland, Mick Devine, Lee Small – backing vocals * Steve Morris, Gary Pihl, Keith Atack, Tommy Denander – guitars * Fredrik Folkare – bass, guitars * Eric Ragno, Steve Mann, Nick Foley, Tommy Denander – keyboards * Johan Kullberg – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Take On The World * 02 When Midnight Comes (with Mark Boals) * 03 Moonlight Shadow * 04 Kiss In A Dragon Night (with Robin McAuley) * 05 Pay For The Lonely Nights * 06 Fight For Love (with Mick Devine) * 07 Candle In The Window * 08 Stayin’ Alive (with Terry Brock) * 09 Fuel To The Fire * 10 Natural High (with Steve Overland) * 11 Let’s Get Something Started * 12 Hold On (with Mick Devine & Gary Pihl)
Gabrielle De Val (Koenzen) is best remembered by a couple of albums she released with her band The Val around about a decade ago. The German born singer and now Spanish resident has kept her musical profile intact in recent times, and now has a new album out under her own name in 2023 courtesy of Escape Music.
When I first caught a glimpse of it, my initial reaction was that this was some folky metal offshoot in the vein of Blackmore’s Castle. I needn’t have worried, as ‘Kiss In A Dragon Night’ is a pretty heavy affair with an iron cast assembly of supporting musicians to back her up. Gabrielle pairs up with several male lead vocalists in a series of duets adding a point of difference throughout.
As an album of mostly melodic metal, this has a hint of fantasy based elements. Certainly a band like Ten should be taking notes of how to do it properly.
‘Take On The World’ is a dramatic and powerful opening, Gabrielle’s soaring voice making it sound effortless. ‘When Midnight Comes’ is the first duet, here Mark Boals is in fine form. The two vocalists combine with authority, the chorus a melodic powerhouse. ‘Moonlight Shadow’ is the old 1983 chestnut originally performed by Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly. This is a good rousing update of the original.
The title track ‘Kiss In A Dragon Night’ is next, a ballad featuring Robin McAuley which is pretty decent I must say. ‘Pay For The Lonely Nights’ by contrast is more modern sounding, and dare I say, closer to a pop rock/AOR hybrid. ‘Fight For Love’ is the next duet this time with Mick Devine in tow. This one is hugely melodic, the chorus is kinda spellbinding and quite bright sounding. I loved the spacious sound of ‘Candle In The Window’ notwithstanding those stabbing synths. By the way, this is not a cover of that Loud And Clear classic. Check the video below.
However, ‘Stayin’ Alive’ a ballad with Terry Brock on co vocals is an old Magnum track given a new lease of life. From this point onward, the album becomes decidedly heavier. ‘Fuel To The Fire’ is a rampant track with the instrumentation raised a few notches. Even ‘Natural High’ with Steve Overland in support powers along like a freight train. It’s good to hear Steve leaving the blues stuff alone for a moment.
‘Let’s Get Something Started’ is churning out riffs like a boss, as per the song title I hope this is the start for Gabrielle De Val in a musical sense. The finale ‘Hold On’ with Mick Devine and Gary Pihl is the third ballad, it does eventually move out of melancholy mode, and builds to a duel vocal crescendo as it finds its way to the end.
I probably shouldn’t be surprised by Gabrielle De Val’s output on this album as it’s really very good. I enjoyed those albums by The Val all those years ago, even if ‘Kiss In A Dragon Night’ is not exactly a doppelganger of what went before. The mudic here is in the goldilocks zone of melodic metal and melodic hard rock, there are faint traces of AOR (maybe Moonlight Shadow), but not enough to categorize the album as such.
Another cracking album to threaten your ear drums. Recommended.
Candle In The Window
Take On The World