Released: 2003, Lion Music
Hubi is one of the new shining stars on the melodic hard rock front. His debut in 2002 was an EP of cover tunes on a smaller label. The MCD which, while interesting in theory, has been done many times before and did little to develop his international reputation as an emerging vocal talent. I firmly believe artist shave to prove themselves by writing, recording and performing their own material. Very few (if any) bands have had a long and successful career copying others.
Meisel and his partners I’m sure were aware of this and have delivered a true debut. They have even gone beyond recording a set of songs as a simple showcase for the vocalist but have created a full-blown cohesive and thematic project called Emocean. The title pun fully intended, (E-mail me if you don’t get it) this work intends and succeeds at showing Meisels natural talent and emotional presentation.
This seems much more like a band, like Alice Cooper or Dio than just a Meisel solo album. It has a far more cohesive feel likely engendered by the aquatic theme running through the entire CD. I’m impressed with this water-world idea because I don’t think it has ever been done before. It is a nice framework, with the 12 minute opus ‘The Souls of Atlantis’ being a focal point.
Clocking in at a generous 71 minutes this discs features some lesser known, but established musicians in the European melodic metal scene. The keyboardist Vivian Lalu wrote almost all the music but Meisel did the lyrics and concepts. The music is a watered down form of melodic hard rock and prog, flowing ebbing, ambient and spacey, nothing too offensive or abrasive. Lots of keys, some flourishes of guitar, the bass and drums are interesting but don’t distract from the vocals. Musically this is a pretty mellow CD so die-hard metallers beware. Overall Meisel’s great vocal work is the key here. He has a super smooth voice with dynamics, reminding me of Don Dokken at times. I really enjoyed his wide range of styles on the track ‘ Underwater Fears’ , some dark, some heavy, some smooth.
A very satisfying listen, good headphone material, lots of subtle nuances for those who wish to take the time and a tremendous introduction to Hubi who I am sure will be called upon to sing in one of the many metal-opera type projects being worked on around the globe.