Released: 2010, Frontiers Records
Let me just start by saying that many metal heads will hate this album on principle. See, Issa (Isabelle Oversveen) is a Norwegian singer whose talents run to the more, shall we say, pop-rock/metal side of the spectrum; therefore SIGN OF ANGELS is only debatably a metal album. It does contain metal lineage however, with song writing contributions from the likes of Uli Kusch (Masterplan, Helloween), Joacim Cans (Hammerfall), Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon), and Thomas Vikstrom (Candlemass, Mehida). Kusch also played the drums on the album.
As I said, SIGN OF ANGELS can debatably be called a heavy metal album but certainly on the poppier, catchier, melodic side of things. Hooks are the order of the day, and the album is full of them – take a listen to first single “I’m Alive” for proof; I guarantee that chorus will be stuck in your head (for better or worse!) after just one listen. Mind you, it’s hard to fault the album for this, as there are some truly great songs offered. “Angel’s Crying”, “River of Love”, and “Fallen Angel” are all snappy up-tempo rockers with some truly memorable melodies. As you would expect, the album is also weighed down with several ballads ranging from very good (“Give Me a Sign”) to interminable (“It’s Not Me”, where Issa’s accent comes through to hilarious results when singing “you”, which comes out as “Jew”).
As a showcase for Issa, the album is a massive success. Her powerful and clear vocals dominate the album and she proves herself to be a skilled, charismatic singer. Her backing band is similarly full of talented players who capably fill their roles, without overshadowing the vocals.
SIGN OF ANGELS may not be a brilliant album, but it is an enjoyable one. If you’re in the mood for some lighter, mindless fare with plenty of hooks, Issa is better than most and well worth a listen.