Hailing from Holland, melodic rock group Two of a Kind recently released their latest album ‘Rise.’ Fred Hendrix, also known for Terra Nova, formed the band, with their first release in 2007. Two of a Kind features singers Esther Brouns and Anita Craenmehr, with Hendrix’s former bandmates on guitar and drums. This new album is very dynamic; from energetic, chunky, guitar and synth-heavy tunes to slow and emotional pieces, it grabs you from start to finish.
First up is Here is the Now, a very old-school style tune. The vocals are energy-inducing and the harmonies in the chorus instantly remind me of Blind Guardian. It is a strong start to the album that sets the mood, and with the cool synth parts is a very catchy song. Rock Your World is an interesting piece as the lyrics are centred on the band itself. The rhythm in the verses is easy to move to and builds up to the chorus. A powerful chorus with harmonizing vocals and raw chunky guitars fills you with that energy that makes you want to jump along to the song.
With a bass-heavy intro, Wheel of Life has a different dynamic to the first two songs and changes things up a bit. Vocal harmonies reign supreme in the choruses yet again, which coupled with the upbeat and swinging guitar rhythm gets you headbanging along. Naked comes in as a curveball – the first more emotional song. This one is slower and mellower than the first few songs. The verse builds to a chorus that tugs on the heart-strings with those now-familiar harmonies. A beautiful guitar solo towards the end of the song puts the icing on the cake for this one.
An uplifting change of pace from the previous song, Rise runs on fast-paced guitar riffs. The second half of the song gradually gets more intense until it unleashes the glorious fist-raising chorus. The lyrics are very motivational, about lifting up beyond struggles and obstacles, which adds to the general good feeling you get from listening to this song.The halfway point for the album, Touch the Roof has a very classic rock / blues intro with some awesome chunky guitar riffs. The obligatory guitar solo is short but sweet, reminiscent of something Slash would break out with. A very memorable chorus stays with you, with the same riff from the intro that carries throughout the whole song.
Higher is another of the emotional tunes, with deep lyrics, intense clean guitar strumming, and soaring vocal harmonies. Much like Rise, this song with the soaring choruses is uplifting as well. The slowest and mellowest song yet, Alienation features hard-hitting lyrics with a very emotional melody – a huge shift from the previous energetic songs. This song has a perfect balance of soft guitar parts, slow drum rhythms, and of course it wouldn’t be complete without some chorus harmonies.
It Ain’t Over changes the solemn mood from the previous song to a more upbeat style again. It is heavier on the synth front and adds extra layers of depth to the song. The cool synth riffs in the verse give the song that 80s vibe. The main rhythm is very full on for the whole song, but the always-brilliant guitar solo brings it home. Opening with a mellow acoustic intro, Without You builds into a chunky steady rhythm and a melody you can sway to. Again, deep and emotional lyrics make this song whole. Run is a tame ending to the album and rounds it off very nicely. While the lyrics seem to reflect on a love-gone-wrong theme, the song has a peaceful mood about it that entices you to sway along to it. Harmonies flow throughout, and the gentle rhythm is very calming.
All in all, ‘Rise’ is a quality album with some cool 80s old school vibes about it, along with some of the vocals being reminiscent of Blind Guardian. As a whole, it has a great balance of energetic and uplifiting songs with some mellow tunes threaded throughout.
GET YOUR HANDS ON TWO OF A KIND’S ‘RISE’ HERE!