|The Unity, the vital new band formed by Gamma Ray members Michael Ehré (drums) and Henjo Richter (guitar), have signed to Steamhammer / SPV to release their consummate, utterly compelling debut album as a digipak CD (with poster), double gatefold 180 gram vinyl (with printed inner sleeves and CD in a cardboard case), and download on May 5th. Richter has been part of the Hamburg power metal outfit for some twenty years, while Ehré’s CV includes – prior to his joining the Gamma Ray fold in 2012 – renowned names such as Firewind, Uli Jon Roth and Unisonic.
The initial inspiration for The Unity is impossible to pin down to a definite date but was apparently an extended and increasingly tangible process. “During many gigs and countless hours in the rehearsal room, Michael and I discovered that we are on the same wavelength, on a personal as well as on a musical level. So we came up with the idea of focusing that part of our creativity that goes beyond Gamma Ray in another band,” Richter explains. Michael Ehré adds: “Our artistic ideas are on the one hand so similar that we arrive at a common denominator most of the time and on the other hand they’re different enough to ensure a diverse album that doesn’t sound boring for a second. Particularly as this band consists of six first-rate songwriters.” Richter and Ehré recruited four excellent musicians - who not only share their artistic vision but had already played live onstage with them in other constellations - to complete The Unity line-up; exceptional Italian vocalist Gianba Manenti, guitarist Stef E, bassist Jogi Sweers and keyboardist Sascha Onnen had all previously worked together in Ehré’s former group Love.Might.Kill., who released two albums (in 2011 & 2012) and toured Europe extensively.
The Unity spent almost 18 months working flat out on ‘The Unity’, which was produced by the musicians themselves, (mostly at Ehré’s own B Castle Studio), and mixed and mastered by Spain’s Miquel A. Riutort at the Psychosomatic Recording Studio. The impressive cover artwork was penned by Alexander Mertsch who has worked for the likes of Deep Purple, Gamma Ray, Status Quo and Europe.
Every powerful hard rock and technically accomplished melodic metal note on ‘The Unity’ oozes with the creative potential of all the band members, all organic masters of their trade. Powerful numbers, such as the fast and tough album opener ‘Rise And Fall’, and the grooving ‘No More Lies’, with its dynamic guitar riff and melodious chorus are just as symptomatic of the group’s unbridled energy as the slow, doom-laden ‘God Of Temptation’ which features a latent Black Sabbath flair thanks to its distinctive guitar hook. ‘Close To Crazy’, meanwhile, lives up to its “crazy” title and puts the pedal to the metal throughout its barely three minutes playing time, while melodic, catchy album closer ‘Never Forget’ features a chorus completely in major key, an anthemnic vocal line and Journey-esque atmospheric keyboards.