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Issa - 2010 Sign Of Angels

ALBUM: Sign Of Angels
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2010


LINEUP: Issa - vocals * Nobby Noberg - bass * Peter Huss - guitars * Tim Larsson - keyboards * Uli Kusch - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Angels Crying * 02 I'm Alive * 03 Give Me A Sign * 04 River Of Love * 05 What Can I Do * 06 Closer * 07 Unbelievable * 08 How Will I Know * 09 As I Live And Breathe * 10 Flying High * 11 It's Not Me * 12 Falling Angel



I know we have a load of fans of the female fronted AOR/rock sub-genre. So in that case, you should all be listening to young Norwegian goddess Issa, recently signed to Frontiers complete with a bunch of great songs and a strong line-up of Euro musos who've been involved with other major name acts. Issa is short for Isabell Oversveen, and it's a good move to have shortened to her nickname.. Issa is much better, and suits this hard rockin' babe to a tee. Last year we had Lizzy Hale from Halestorm who walked off with the 'hard rock hottie of the year' award. This year it looks as if Issa could land the big fish, and talking of fish, this 'Sign Of Angels' CD has that oft-used pun of 'more hooks than a fisherman's tackle box'. This album might veer towards the lighter end of the hard rock spectrum, but that's because Issa's melodic pop style has been overlaid on a solid foundation. Personally, I don't think this is light at all, in much the same way that Brother Firetribe or the aforementioned Halestorm appeal with their mass of melody, this Oslo based singer has attracted a swag of outside help in the songwriting, musical and production departments.

The Songs
'Angels Crying' leads off in spectacular fashion, pumping bass lines and a soaring vocal from Issa presenting us with a melodic killer. Frontiers have done well to make the outstanding 'I'm Alive' as the album's single, and video contender. A massive affair, with melody and harmony vocals rising to the top like cream. 'Give Me A Sign' continues the high quality music, interweaving slower verses with big hook filled choruses, taking you on a thrill-ride. No meandering with 'River Of Love', another pop rock with crunching guitar lines and catchy choruses. 'What Can I Do' is an intense and drama filled event, with a hint of a House Of Lords underbelly to it. 'Closer' develops from a raw sound at the start into a modern rock outing with sizzle and pop. It's easy to fall in love with a track like 'Unbelievable', it has the same commercial angle that pervaded Tommy Denander's involvement in the scene during the 2002-2007 era with outfits such as Deacon Street. I'm certain this could do amazingly well if given a shot on the charts. 'How Will I Know' appeals equally, I love that chorus and those keyboard lines last heard on Fair Warning's albums. There is plenty in the tank as we head down the back straight toward the end of the album. 'As I Live And Breathe' and 'Flying High' both punch above their weight, but the ears are captured once again by the impressive power ballad 'It's Not Me', while the album closer 'Falling Angel' leaves you wanting more, so it's back to the track 1 again!

In Summary
You can always tell when an album is a winner, and that is: how often the CD is played, whether on the computer, stereo system, car, or on your mp3 player. 'Sign Of Angels' has all bases covered at the moment. For sure, the focus on this CD is the vocal prowess, and Issa sings with power, precision and clarity, and if she keeps this up, it won't be long before she owns the 'queen of hard rock' crown. Along with Treat's 'Coup De Grace', 'Sign Of Angels' is one of the better albums for Frontiers in 2010. Issa - a name for the future.. count on it.

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#1 | gdazegod on October 23 2010 06:32:57
YouTube Video:
#2 | swazi on October 24 2010 12:29:35
What an awesome release! She's got the voice and certainly the looks to become a star! BUY!
#3 | Eric on October 24 2010 13:10:23
So when this album was mentioned a few weeks back, I asked if this was Jane Siberry but got no reaction. Jane released a few Kate Bush influenced pop things and is going by the same moniker and just spotted her latest disc in a shop yesterday- as Issa.

#4 | Eric on October 24 2010 14:41:42
Yup, I hear ya....
#5 | Jez on October 27 2010 01:39:13
A bit of a mixed bag for me this one. Starts out nicely with 'Angels Crying','I'm Alive' and 'Give Me The Sign' and then all the other songs sort of blur into each other, without really standing out in tghe hooks department. It's all very well done and I like Isabels vocals very much, but it doesn't really stand out above many many other albums of this type that have been done before. It's certainly far from bad, and as I said, has some really good moments, but not essential for me..
#6 | gdazegod on October 27 2010 05:56:19
Fair enough Jez. However in 2010, there is very little to compare to what this bird is doing. I prefer not to compare with the past because it's different ground now - production techniques, studio gear, mastering etc. it would be like comparing a gas lamp to a laser.. Is there really another woman out there in the hard rock field who is doing anything similar? Metal, probably (Angela Goussow, Veronica Freeman etc), but this is not metal. If someone could chuck in some names for comparison (I mentioned Halestorm before), then that would be great.
#7 | jeffrey343 on December 02 2010 16:31:13
Very nice album. These songs sound like they could be heavier versions of what you may hear in the U.S. by pop or country-pop artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift. I'm sure some of these songs, if recorded by those artists, could become hits over here. I think this album struggles to avoid becoming 'samey' towards the end, and it mostly wins that struggle. It doesn't remind me as much of the late 80s / early 90s stuff we love, but it does remind me of the 2007 Two Of A Kind album (though this is harder material). And thanks to this review, I discovered last year's Halestorm album - a strong one with a more modern-rock sound than Issa.

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