The sound of SupaRed isn't what you'd expect of a band fronted by ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske — even a shaved-head Michael Kiske. The thunderous sounds of power metal are conspicuously absent on this self-titled debut, which arguably sounds better than recent output by Kiske's old band.
The name of his new band apparently stems from the term "superred," sometimes used to describe red fish. And because fish is a Christian symbol, it makes perfect sense – at least so reasons Kiske the Christian. Not that any of the material on SupaRed's debut has an overtly religious tone, anyway. Instead, the album is loaded with catchy, modern rock songs that would sound right at home on today's Billboard charts. A sense of maturity pervades this disc -- musically, lyrically and vocally. The 14 tracks contain an element of surprise, remaining consistently likable despite their varying lengths and grooves.
Kiske's voice takes on all sorts of new dimensions, sounding like Styx's Tommy Shaw (of all people) on the chorus of the rousing opening track "Reconsider," recalling a slightly stuffed-up 80s synth-pop singer on the soaring "Hey" and coming off like a bratty nu-breed punk on "Can I Know Now?" There's hardly a trace of "I'm Alive" within earshot. Kiske's backed by a trio of musicians who sound as if they've been playing together longer than they have. As a quartet, they have the potential to break through mainstream radio in a big way. Time will tell …
While all of these details may help you make up your mind about whether to give SupaRed a spin, all you really need to know is that Kiske proves rock artists can indeed age gracefully. That should be enough incentive to pick up this album.