Issa’s second album out now on Frontiers is another quality release during 2011.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: The Storm
SERIAL: FRCD 529
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Norway
LINEUP: Issa – vocals * David Sivelind – guitars, bass * Johnny Trobro – bass * Daniel Flores – bass, drums, keyboards
Additional Musicians: Robert Sall, Christian Wolff, Mats Lindfors, Christopher Vetter, Gabriel Forsman, Daniel Palmqvist – guitar solo spots
TRACK LISTING: 01 Looking For Love * 02 Please Hold On * 03 Take A Stand * 04 Invincible * 05 Two Hearts * 06 Black Clouds * 07 You’re Making Me * 08 Gonna Stand By You * 09 We’re On Fire * 10 Too Late For Love * 11 What Does It Take * 12 The Storm
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Last year saw the introduction of Norwegian singer Isabel Oversveen (a.k.a Issa) to the melodic rock scene with her excellent debut CD ‘Sign Of Angels’. Now with a year under her belt, and more time racked up in the studio, she returns just about a year to the day with her second outing ‘The Storm’.
There wasn’t much to quibble about at all on the debut, and many of us were waiting in anticipation of a follow-up CD, and how she would fare second time around. It would seem that Issa has moved even closer to the AOR genre than before. No doubt helped in her cause by a swathe of top songwriters in the genre, such as the Martin brothers (Vega), Robert Sall (Work Of Art), and others.
Issa’s vocals are top notch yet again, with phrasing and tonal similarities to Shania Twain but sung in a melodic rock context. If we remember a few years back, Twain herself was involved in some melodic rock material working alongside the legendary Paul Sabu, but this time around it’s Daniel Flores, our favourite Chilean/Swedish drummer and producer that looks after the dials for Miss Oversveen.
Looking back at last years ‘Signs Of Angels’, it was an album that was convincingly modern rock with a dab of AOR, now it’s the other way around. A couple of weeks ago, I intimated in another recent review (Reckless Love) that this might not have been a good move. However in hindsight that comment might’ve been premature.
Let’s be clear, this is a super smooth affair with just the right level of cutting edginess. At the end of the day, it’s not the music nor the songs that are the winner here, it’s that sensational voice.
We’ve all seen the video pasted on this site’s main page from a couple of weeks ago, ‘Looking For Love’ clearly indicating what direction Issa is heading in. ‘Please Hold On’ stomps in on a Vega like delivery system, with Miss Oversveen chucking in a few Shania like phrases on the chorus for good measure. Fine by me.
Next track ‘Take A Stand’ is played in a style I much prefer with Issa, and that is hard edged with a tinge of intensity. When she throws her weight behind a ballad such as ‘Invincible’, the results are exceptional, but I think we all knew that from some of the songs off SOA, name-check ‘Unbelievable’.’Two Hearts’ drives into pop-rock territory, I could take it or leave it.
Much better is the deep and dark ‘Black Clouds’, which gets my vote as one of the best songs on offer, the guitars crunch like a fresh packet of Smiths Crisps accompanying a Saturday arvo footy game. More incisive are the devilish melodies of ‘You’re Making Me’ guaranteed to make you one of a number of inducive states by songs end. ‘Gonna Stand By You’ is a searchin’ track, you feel as if you’re listening to a Vega track but with female vocals.
The keyboard melodies for ‘We’re On Fire’ are a tease for the modern AOR that Issa delivers, is this the sound of AOR as we head into the future? ‘Too Late For Love’ is the other notable ballad on the album, I liked the bluesy but contemporary feel of this one, and Issa’s voice would certainly give the talented LeeAnn Rimes a run for her money on this one.
‘What Does It Take’ is a track I threw up on our Top Ten Jukebox, just to give listeners an idea as to what Issa is about in 2011. The album finale is the title track ‘The Storm’, and what a finale it is. Epic in nature, and at 5 and a half minutes, we are taken on a glory ride of melody and modern edginess that should attract a fair amount of attention from the younger brigade.
Frontiers have been spoiling melodic rockers with some quality releases during 2011, ‘The Storm’ now added to the stockpile. Though the musical roles might have reversed between years (as explained above), I still feel that Issa returns to ground-zero regardless. Whether it’s a mix of AOR and modern pop-rock, only the emphasis between both styles has been the changing factor between years, but not enough to isolate or polarise fans of the debut.
I really would like to see Issa get out there and improve upon her standings and popularity above and beyond the limited audience which is the general AOR scene. How to do that without compromising what she’s achieved so far is the 64 thousand dollar question.
Looking For Love
Please Hold On