ISSA – The Storm (2011)

ISSA - The Storm (2011)


It’s very hard not to view “The Storm” as anything other than a vehicle to showcase the outstanding vocals of Norwegian ISSA (Isabell Oversveen) who comes across as a mixture of Janet Gardner (Vixen), Ann Wilson (Heart) and Shania Twain with a hint of Amy Wolter (Fighter) on some of her vocal phrasing.

For those of you who already have her first international album (last year’s ‘Sign Of Angels’) you know what to expect and here are another twelve songs to whet your appetite.

For those not in the know, this is sumptuous modern AOR with a Melodic Rock catchiness.

With the the contribution of the best songwriters that you could possibly get, such as the likes of the Martin brothers (Vega, House Of Lords, Khymera, Sunstorm), Robert Sall (Work Of Art), Magnus Karlsson (Place Vendome) or Randy Goodrem (Toto, Steve Perry, Steve Lukather) among others, the quality of the songs shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

“Looking For Love” is a great keyboard-laden opener played at a frenetic pace with some very impassioned vocals whilst “Please Hold On” which follows has some very smooth melodies with a lovely sweet chorus.

In fact, play this album on shuffle and I don’t think the continuity and flow of the songs will suffer in any way.

If it’s lovely pedal effect echo on the rhythm and a beautiful melodic pitch on the vocals that you want, then play “Two Hearts”.

If it’s suggestive lyrics mixed with nice harmonics and on the air keys with sugar-coated refrain on the chorus, stick “You’re Making Me” on play.

If you want a pacey, melodious song with a classy keyboard intro and more impassioned vocals from Issa, then stick “We’re On Fire” on.

“What Does It Take” probably just shades it for me as favourite song from the first two listens as it’s an excellent pacey melodic song with keyboards racing in conjunction with the riff to create an edgy feel.

“Invincible” is a beautiful Shania Twain-esque ballad that is simply fabulous.

“Black Clouds” is a wonderful heart-hitting, punchy melodic number with a great keyboard refrain and a strong solo.

“Gonna Stand By You” has a broody opening and gorgeous chorus but I don’t understand why the guitar solo fades out almost immediately after it has begun at the end of the song.

The title track “The Storm” has Issa almost serenading a capella style with beautiful subtle notes interspersed like raindrops before the drums intervene and build the song. It has a striking mellifluous ending though that will excite a number of fans.

Issa has hit the jackpot once again with “The Storm”.

Every song on this album is catchy and smooth. It’s definitely Issa’s gorgeous vocals that are carrying them along with her dynamic range. She possesses the ability to sing as soft and sweet as a lullaby one moment, then unleash power and attitude the next.

The bombastic elements of the debut dialed back a bit in favor of a smoother, more AOR-oriented approach.

Daniel Flores’ production is absolutely immaculate, lush, polished and smoother than the fantasy-inducing curves of Issa herself. The engineering is superb as well, every instrument expertly mixed to complement each other, from the punchy guitars to the authoritative drum work to the melodic keyboard flourishes.

“The Storm” would be an outstanding addition to every AOR / Melodic rock fan’s collection.

Move over ladies. There’s a new girl in town. ISSA is here to stay.

Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrock

1. Looking for Love

2. Please Hold On

3. Take a Stand

4. Invincible

5. Two Hearts

6. Black Clouds

7. You’re Making Me

8. Gonna Stand By You

9. We’re On Fire

10. Too Late for Love

11. What Does It Take

12. The Storm

Issa – vocals

David Sivelind – guitars

Johnny Trobro – bass

Daniel Flores – drums, keyboards


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