Review by Tony Cannella
From Germany, Kerstin Bischof first came on to the Femme Metal radar due to her brief time in the German symphonic metal band Xandria. She never did record with them, but the handful of live performances with that band garnered rave reviews. Now she has finally released her highly anticipated debut solo album, “Project Ava” and now the rest of us can see what all of the fuss was about.
“Project Ava” is a collaborative effort with Kerstin and her multi-instrumentalist husband Guido Wehmeyer. The first thing is that Kerstin has one heck of a singing voice. She has got a tremendous range that allows her to sing in different styles and convey various emotions. After the opening piano intro “Midnight Earth #1” we are treated to the excellent “Crimson”. This song is a straight-forward guitar heavy opener and is built around a pretty solid guitar riff and changing tempos. Next is “Frozen” which opens with another hard driving riff before slowing the tempo down a bit and then quickly speeding up again. “Frozen” comes with an instantaneously catchy and memorable chorus that stuck with me for days after I heard it first. The next track “Over the Stars” quickly became one of my favorites. Kerstin turns in one of her best vocal performances on this track and what sounds like a children’s choir singing background and on the chorus is powerful. In addition to Kerstin (who also contributes piano, keys, synths and percussion) the contributions of her husband Guido Wehmeyer are immense. He plays all of the main instruments (guitar, bass and drums) and turns in memorable performances. Even though I wouldn’t say “Project Ava” is commercial in any way, shape or form the songs still have the ability to be accessible and accepted in the mainstream – in my opinion. “Wish”, “Shrink” and “Battery Eyes” all have that special something that could resonate with the metal and rock public.
“Project Ava” is a wonderfully diverse, immensely powerful, multi-tiered emotional and atmospheric debut solo album. Kerstin Bischof has acquitted herself quit well in this her first solo endeavor – hopefully the first of much more to come; I have a feeling that that will indeed be the case.
Rating – 85/100
- Midnight Earth #1
- Frozen (Album Version)
- Over the Stars
- Keep You From Harm
- Shrink (Video Edit)
- Battery Eyes
- In Contemplation
- Midnight Earth #2
- Shrink (Long Version – Bonus Track)
- Kerstin Bischof – Vocals, Piano, Keys, Synth and Percussion
- Guido Wehmeyer – Guitars, Bass and Drums