Monday, April 16, 2018

Album Review: Issa - Run With The Pack

Here's something we don't always like to admit; sometimes good music is good in a way that isn't inherently interesting, which leads to it getting lost in the tsunami of other choices we have. When there are albums always coming out by bigger names, or bigger personalities, or that are swamped in bigger news-making potential, it can be hard to get excited about a nice little record that doesn't break any new ground. That is particularly true in a field like melodic rock, where the focus of the music means there is often little to differentiate one album from the next, save for the melodies. That all means it an be a bit hard to come up with something of note to say about each and every album.

That's where Issa's new album falls. Even though we're only in April, there have been a slew of melodic rock albums that have already grabbed attention, so throwing another one on the pile is a bit like throwing a needle into a sewing kit. It's hard to say I haven't already heard this. The only way to stand out is for the songwriting to be razor sharp, to sever my memories of earlier albums.

That doesn't happen here. "Run With The Pack" is not going to make me forget about the albums W.E.T. and Ammunition have already released, nor will it push out some of the glorious melodies of several heavier albums either. But let's not take that as a searing indictment.

"Run With The Pack", while it isn't that kind of standout record, is also the kind of quality record that doesn't have any glaring flaws. These songs are all darn good, and Issa's voice is different enough from what we usually hear on these records that it does stand on its own. The usual melodic rock suspects provide most of the material here, and they do a good job. You can easily sit back and enjoy this album as catchy hooks come song after song. There's enough guitar presence to make it clear this is a rock album, and the balance of everything is just about right. On that level, I don't actually have any criticism of the record.

However, because it is standard-fare melodic rock, I also don't have a lot to say on the other side of the ledger either. If you listen to enough melodic rock, specifically from the Frontiers camp, you already know what this is going to sound like. The differentiation is usually in degrees of success. On that front, Issa fits nicely in the second tier. It isn't an album that will compete for the best of the year, but it's a very good album that more than earns its stripes. Compare it to another album coming out on the same day from a more noted name, James Christian of House Of Lords, and you'll see that Issa's album is head and shoulders the winner.

Between the musical approach, and Issa's vocal pitch, "Run With The Pack" is a lighter album that will most appeal to the AOR faithful. If you like your rock melodic, and you don't mind a softer touch, Issa delivers an album in "Run With The Pack" that is well worth listening to.

No comments:

Post a Comment