Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
Just last year I reviewed the debut album from Norwegian singer Issa (Isabelle Oversveen), an eminently catchy hard rock album that had all the good and bad that come with that genre. Issa’s vocals were of course a stand out (the album was written to emphasize her after all!), and there were some genuinely great songs. Now less than a year later Issa is back with her second effort, and she’s brought a veritable army of songwriters with her to help out. Tellingly though, she’s contributed some writing of her own this time, showing that she’s not just a pretty face with a great voice.
As you would expect, THE STORM runs the gamut from over-emotive balladry to pure hard rock, but there are a few surprises to be had. Opener “Looking For Love” is a surprisingly heavy, almost metal song, which shows Issa can rock with the best of them. Similarly, “Black Clouds” some keyboard atmospherics before again kicking into a powerful, rocker. On the other end of the spectrum, the title track provides an uplifting close to the album with its rising vocals/guitars match.
Unfortunately there are no less than five ballads of variable quality on the album, dragging it down a bit. Further, some of the straight ahead rock songs are also a bit weak, with tracks like “We’re On Fire” and “What Does It Take” coming off as little more than filler.
I’d say THE STORM is a positive step forward for ISSA. While it’s perhaps, track for track, a little bit weaker than her debut, its strong songs are generally better than the debut. Plus, it shows that she’s willing to take chances and grow her music beyond typical hard rock, which is always appreciated. Good stuff, and hopefully she keeps following this path.