By Patrick Saulnier
CALGARY – On our side of the globe, German rockers Gamma Ray might seem like a foreign concept, but fans of European metal know that they are seasoned vets who have helped in paving the road to what power metal has become today.
After blasting out over a dozen albums spanning almost 30 years, the band recently decided to take a little breather from the long-running project. This hiatus allowed guitarist Henjo Richter and drummer Michael Ehré (Firewind, Metalium) the opportunity to explore some fresh territory with guitarist Stefan Ellerhorst, vocalist Gianbattista Manenti, bassist Jogi Sweers and keyboardist Sascha Onnen, thus creating a new music venture known as The Unity.
The group’s self-titled 2017 debut album on Steamhammer Records scored them ‘Best Newcomer’ accolades across the continent, most notably from leading German metal magazines, Metal Hammer and RockHard. In turn, the attention the burgeoning ensemble gained from this streak of positive exposure propelled them into the spotlight, resulting in touring stints with the likes of Edguy and Sinner, including colossal festival dates such as Masters of Rock.
The Unity’s forthcoming sophomore record Rise looks to build off this cumulative momentum made available in September. An accomplishment, the outfit’s percussionist, Michael Ehré, is happy to compare to the iconic albums that he and his bandmates were raised on.
“When you press play you´ll get a cool mixture between hard rock and melodic metal. We grew up with bands like Whitesnake, DIO, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden,” says Ehré.
As their name suggest, Unity is melodic and groovy while still retaining the epic symphonic elements that have endeared them to progressive rock and heavy metal list, and Rise has it all. Ehré describes the complete package as “hard rock with pop appeal!” and emphasizes that they had really set out to test waters left untouched in their previous endeavours.
“Rise has us putting out our feelers in every respect, even further than we’ve done so far. And though we´re still a new band, we’ve known each other for a long time now. We know we can rely on each other. In the end. We all have one goa, to produce the best albums possible, play the best shows possible and give the fans at least 100 percent!”
The Unity’s new album, Rise, was released through SPV/Steamhammer on Sept. 14.
Black Sabbath, DIO, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Rise, SPV/Steamhammer, The Unity, Whitesnake