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‘The Hellish Joyride’
The Hellish Joyride
Only The Good Die Young
Saints And Sinners
Always Two Ways To Play
Stay The Fool
You‘re Not Forced To Stay
The Unity are:
Gianbattista Manenti – vocals
Henjo Richter – guitar
Stef – guitar
Tobias Exxel – bass
Sascha Onnen – keyboards
Michael Ehré – drums
Get ready for some hellish metal pleasure:
Following their four successful albums ‘The Unity’ (2017), ‘Rise’ (2018), ‘Pride’ (2020) and ‘The Devil You Know – Live’ (2021), European tours as headlining act or alongside luminaries such as Sinner, Edguy, Axel Rudi Pell or Rhapsody Of Fire, celebrated shows at Masters Of Rock, the Knockout Festival, Metal-Fest or Bang Your Head, The Unity’s fifth release, ‘The Hellish Joyride’, presents them from a more playful and varied side than ever before.
“Our music has always featured a wide stylistic range, but ‘The Hellish Joyride’ stretches the boundaries of melodic power metal even further,”
explains Michael Ehré, referring to the album’s twelve extremely diverse songs, which range from neck-breakingly fast-paced and groovingly cool to balladesque.
On top of that, the band’s latest addition, Tobias ‘Eggi’ Exxel (bass, Edguy), has brought fresh energy to the fold and unmistakably supports the sworn circle of Gamma Ray members Henjo Richter (guitar) and Michael Ehré (drums), vocalist Gianba Manenti, guitarist Stef and keyboardist Sascha Onnen.
The new album has been scheduled for release on Steamhammer/SPV on 25 August 2023, and their European tour with Primal Fear is set to kick off just one week later.
The first lead single, including a ‘sportive’ and as always lavishly produced video clip, is entitled ‘Always Two Ways To Play’ and has been released on the 14th of July 2023, followed five weeks later by the second single ‘Saints And Sinners’.
So let the hellish joyride begin!
The Unity belt through a dozen versatile melodic metal songs on a truly hellish ride, celebrating life and declaring unconditional optimism to be their supreme maxim.
“The past few years have been a tough test for the whole music industry, with only those escaping unscathed who saw the lockdown as an opportunity and now appreciate things all the more that were previously considered to be self-evident,”
says Gianba Manenti in retrospect.
This category includes, for example, the groove rock number ‘Golden Sun’ with its metaphorical realisation that the sun always rises again, however dark the day has been.
The same goes for ‘You’re Not Forced To Stay’ with its unusual arrangements, which confidently declares their own performance to be the measure of all things, true to the motto:
Love it or leave it!
No doubt about it:
Their fifth album sees The Unity continue to evolve, both in terms of their compositional and their musical skill.
And of course, the arrival of Tobias Exxel has further reinforced this well-oiled machine.
Thanks to this latest addition, the group which has always been showered with well-deserved praise for its live performances, now features six powerful songwriters, whose wealth of ideas and great musical experience ensure that the 153-beats-per-minute ‘Saints And Sinners’ (the fastest song in the band’s history to date) features on ‘The Hellish Joyride’, as well as the anthemnic ‘Only The Good Die Young’, the almost epic title track, the powerful ‘Masterpiece’, fuelled by furioso guitar riffs, and the deeply moving ‘Something Good’.
In addition, the new album not only impresses with its impeccable songwriting, but also with its sound honed down to the very last detail.
Band founder Michael Ehré, who produced the new Velvet Viper album at his B-Castle Studio only a few months ago, was also in charge of the production of his own band’s latest recording.
Like The Unity’s previous album ‘Pride’, the material on ‘The Hellish Joyride’ was mixed and mastered by Achim Köhler (Avantasia, Hammerfall, Helloween, among others).
Everybody who knows The Unity will realise that these musicians are unlikely to rest on their laurels or sit back and relax.
To the contrary:
Their ‘sportive’ clip to support ‘Always Two Ways To Play’ shows that from now on the band’s motto will be ‘After the match is before the match’.
Only a few days after the album’s release, the band – who will be touring with Primal Fear by then – are determined to give their all on stage to thrill their fans with the latest material.
And as is evident from the cover artwork courtesy of Felipe Machado, the tongue-in-cheek request ‘Please stand well back from the platform edge!’ is more than likely to apply.
‘The Devil You Know’
No More Lies
We Don´t Need Them Here
The Willow Tree
You Got Me Wrong
Close To Crazy
The Unity are:
Gianbattista Manenti – vocals
Michael Ehre – drums
Henjo Richter – guitars
Stef E – guitar
Jogi Sweers – bass
Sascha Onnen – keyboards
Sometimes the seemingly most surprising idea can also be the most obvious:
German-Italian melodic metal act The Unity, consisting of Gamma Ray members Henjo Richter (guitar), Michael Ehré (drums) and bandmates Gianbattista Manenti (vocals), Stef (guitar), Jogi Sweers (bass) and Sascha Onnen (keyboards) are set to release their first live album ‘The Devil You Know – The Unity Live’ on Steamhammer/SPV on 12 November 2021, their very own reaction to the lockdown, which has still not been fully lifted.
“For months, music fans were denied the most important thing in their lives: live concerts! That’s why we decided to give our fans exactly that, The Unity live,”
explains Michael Ehré, adding:
“Some may feel that it’s a little early to bring out this kind of recording after only three studio releases. But for us, this is both a salute to our fans and a consolation to make up for the many shows that didn’t happen.”
‘The Devil You Know – The Unity Live’ was recorded between 2017 and 2020 during tours through Germany and a number of other European countries, at shows in small, overheated clubs with sweat dripping from the walls, but also at big festivals such as the Masters Of Rock in the Czech Republic and in Germany at the Karlsruhe Knockout Festival and the Bang Your Head in Balingen.
The track listing focuses on material from their albums ‘The Unity’ (2017) and ‘Rise’ (2018), but in ‘We Don’t Need Them Here’ also includes the single release from their third album ‘Pride’ (2020), a song which was discussed controversially at the time of its release and was one of the highlights of their tour with Rhapsody Of Fire.
Talking of which:
The Italian band was only one of several renowned groups with whom The Unity have toured extensively.
Just as unforgettable were their concert tours alongside Sinner, Edguy and Axel Rudi Pell, where The Unity presented their outstanding skills every night, advertising their subsequent equally acclaimed headlining tours.
Due to its numerous concerts, it comes as no surprise to experts how rapidly the group has developed during the first four years of its existence.
‘The Devil You Know – The Unity Live’ shows excellently rehearsed musicians, bursting with enthusiasm and proving their impressive live presence not only with their greatest hits ‘No More Lies’, ‘The Storm’, ‘Never Forget’ and ‘The Willow Tree’, but also in direct contact with the audience, thanks in particular to frontman Gianbattista Manenti, who has evolved into a world-class vocalist, forming a tight unit with his technically accomplished band colleagues.
The first single release from ‘The Devil You Know – The Unity Live’ will be a live clip featuring ‘Close To Crazy’, with excerpts from The Unity’s performance at the Masters Of Rock in Vizovice, Czech Republic, in front of an audience of 22,000 and with comedy star Sascha Grammel and his famous puppet, the ‘eagle pheasant’ Frederic Freiherr von Furchensumpf, putting in a guest appearance.
The latter has been a self-confessed The Unity fan for years and frequently comes to the band’s shows.
The album was mixed and mastered by Achim Köhler, and the front cover courtesy of Felipe Machado (Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Iron Savior) introduces The Unity’s new mascot Dave, who is honoured by the album title.
“There is an English saying: ‘Better the devil you know than the devil you dont’. We think this motto perfectly describes the situation the world currently finds itself in.”
Last but not least:
The booklet, designed by Alexander Mertsch (Deep Purple, Saga etc.), presents an extensive photo collection with lots of live pictures and a number snapshots of fans, who will definitely like to remember the bands great shows.
Looking at it this way, for both band and fans alike, this live album is much more than simply a consolation prize!