Oh thank the Gods, our dear Norwegian Goddess ISSA has returned!! Three years removed from her smash album Crossfire, she’s back with new disc Run With the Pack (out now, Frontiers Music). ISSA is the Queen of Melodic Rock, no question. She knows how to deliver feel-good anthems, but also isn’t afraid to explore her darker side, especially on this album. Once again she has a who’s who of heavyweights contributing to this one. Alessandro Del Vecchio (let’s face it, the man lives, breathes, and eats hooks!) wrote a ton of the music, played keyboards, and produced the record, while Simone Mularoni (DGM) played guitar. Rhythm section duties were handled by Andrea ToWer Torricini (bass) and Marco Di Salvia (drums).
Songwise, as I mentioned earlier, things are a bit darker sometimes, starting with opener “Am I Losing You”. This mid tempo number is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s actually a great track. “Run With the Pack” is all piss and vinegar and quite frankly it sounds like ISSA and band are having a blast doing this one. Another landmark duet comes next in the form of “Sacrifice Me” featuring Drum God and vocalist extraordinaire Deen Castronovo. This right here is some powerful stuff, and one of the album’s best cuts. “How Long” conveys a sense of longing that leaps off the page, while “The Sound of Yesterday” sounds like it would be just as at home in the 80’s as it is in the here and now.
“Come Back Again” is definitely a favorite. This is one of those tunes that also evokes that feeling of longing, but at the same time it makes you feel like there’s hope, and that maybe you can repair that damaged relationship with your lover, or ex-lover. And the way it exits with the bass only is classic. “Talk to Your Heart” is a moment where ISSA truly shines as a vocalist, and it actually reminds me of something you’d hear on TOTO’S Fahrenheit album (which I love!). The piano drives “Bittersweet”, a beautiful ballad that should be a smash hit on international radio if the label is smart enough to release it as a single. “Closer to You” is a great rocker that I find myself repeating often, and the solo is kickass!!
Closer “Everything to Me” can be summed up in one word: Powerful. This right here is one of the brightest moments in ISSA’S career as a singer. The arrangement is spectacular, and she sings beautifully. All in all Run With the Pack is a great, great record. ISSA is without a doubt one of my favorite singers on this planet, and five albums in she continues to deliver the gold. If you’re a fan of Melodic Rock and want something cool to rock out to while you drive down the highway, or if you want something to relax with a glass of wine to, then this is the album for you. And now it’s up to you, Frontiers, to bring ISSA to the United States for a tour. We want it. We NEED it. Open up that checkbook, Serafino…what say you??
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Bittersweet”, “Come Back Again”, Everything to Me”, “Sacrifice Me”, “Run With the Pack”, “Talk to Your Heart”