ISSA – Crossfire (2015)
Norwegian songstress ISSA sure does hit you right between the eyes with “Crossfire“, her new album to be released next Feb. 23 on Frontiers Records. Issa returns to deliver a great Melodic Rock album that will send fresh waves of joy throughout the genre fans.
This time round Issa has teamed up with Vega’s Martin brother’s Tom and James on the songwriting front, the album also sees the Vega connection continue with John Greatwood co-producing the album, along with James Martin. So expect the best Issa record ever.
“Crossfire” is a true, modern Melodic Rock album. With Issa’s stunning vocals heading up the positives of this album, the songwriting seems more personal this time round.
Issa even duets with Mr. Melodic Rock himself Steve Overland (FM) on one track. Also guesting on the album are Daniel Palmqvist, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Steve Newman, Robert Sall, Daniel Johansson and Stephen Chesney, as well as powerhouse choir including Pete Newdeck, Matt Black and Michael Kew.
So what about the album itself?
Well is has been described as a … “melodic rock fans wet dream with huge vocals, layers of keyboards and masses of guitars! Think Roxette, meets Romeo’s Daughter melted with ’80s Heart albums” .
I could leave it at that, but for me this album is a whole lot more.
As the album opens up with the title track ‘Crossfire’, there’s no fancy intro’s, just straight into great melody rich rock. Yes there is Romeo’s Daughter vibe going on, but there is a little more edge to things, whether it’s the guitars or the brilliant rhythm section, this one that really sets the standard for the rest of the album to follow.
There’s a much more modern side of the Melodic Rock scene courtesy of the haunting keyboards and synth in the excellent ‘New Horizon’, before that duet with Steve Overland on the wonderful ‘Raintown’. The pairing of Overland and Issa is one made in melodic rock heaven, definitely one of the tracks off the album that fans of the genre are going to eat up.
The tempo is picked up a touch with ‘Long Time Coming’, another slice of melodic bliss, before the excellent ballad ‘Fight Fire With Rain’, upon which Issa delivers another stunning vocal that will pull at the strings of the hardest of hearts.
The rocking ‘Heartbeat’ delivers a melodic punch that reminds me of something Robin Beck would do, then it’s back to the more modern keyboard and guitar-dueling fuelled side of the genre with ‘Electric Lights’, with Issa delivering a more angsty vocal on this one.
It’s back to the more traditional side of the genre with the splendid ‘Ghost Inside My Heart’, before the orchestration filled wonderment of ‘Red Lights’, another song that has that Robin Beck feel to it, then a quick jump back in time with the ’80s feel of ‘We Rise’.
The album closes on a wonderful high in the haunting tones of the mid-tempoed ‘Only You’, which rounds off another great album from the Norwegian songstress.
There were some flaws in previous Issa albums. Her vocal performance, musicians involved and production are out of the question, but in “Crossfire”, the previous missing factor has been hit; songwriting.
The Martin brothers pen is fantastic, and this what Issa needed: great songs to complete the circle.
“Crossfire” delivers top notch female fronted Melodic Rock, an album that is sure to send shivers of excitement down the back of many fans of the genre when they hear it.
02. New Horizon
04. Long Time Coming
05. Fight Fire With Rain
07. Electronic Lights
08. Ghost Inside My Heart
09. Red Lights
10. We Rise
11. Only You
Steve Overland (FM)
Daniel Palmqvist (XOrigin)
Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline)
Steve Newman (Newman)
Robert Sall (Work Of Art)
Daniel Johansson (Degreed)
Pete Newdeck (In Faith / Tainted Nation)
Matt Black (Fahran)
Michael Kew (Vega)