I really didn’t like this at first. I actually hated it, a feeling that persisted even after multiple listens. These songs aren’t Metal or even Rock – what we have here are 11 songs full acoustic pop. Doesn’t sound good, now does it?
There are actually so many things wrong with this record that it is overwhelming and it is definitely not one of Mr. Kiske’s better moments, but it grew on me after a few days, to the point where I can sit the whole thing through without having to restrain myself from destroying my stereo. Kiske still has a great voice but this type of music doesn’t really allow his voice to soar like it did in his early years and the whole affair comes off as contrived and ‘safe’. The melodies and acoustic parts are shallow and probably wont make an impression on any listener.
Yet, some songs aren’t that bad. The opener “Fed By Stones” is fairly good, while “Kings Fall” is a great song that has a more focused and catchy feeling to it and finally shows that Kiske can still sing with some emotion. “All-Solutions” and “Hearts Are Free” are two other shimmers of hope. If you liked the HELLOWEEN song “Windmill” then you will probably find something of worth in these songs.
But still this is a very flawed album and I can’t help but feel that this was an unnecessary album – Kiske swore off Metal and it’s almost as if he is mocking his old fans with this album by showing them how “un metal” he has become. This is a conclusion that many others have also reached. It also doesn’t help that 80% of this album is devoid of any redeeming qualities…
I’ll probably only listen to this once or twice a year. (Online July 1, 2006)