Leon : What can go wrong if you have band members like Mike LePond (Symphony X) and Uli Kusch (Helloween, Masterplan), and James LaBrie (Dream Theater) as a guest singer on three songs? But, as I have said many times before, well-known band members do not guarantee amazing albums. The band was founded somewhere in 2007 by singer Elisa Scarpeccio and guitarist Cristiano Tiberi under the name Blazing Ice, which would later change to Last Union. Keyboard player Claudio Feliziani was also in the basis of the band but there is no information to be found about what happened to this man, it is clear, however, that he is no longer part of the band. Scarpeccio and Tiberi took a number of bold steps and asked famous drum Kusch and bass player LePond if they wanted to become part of the band, in which they agreed (to my surprise). They also asked James LaBrie to join as guest singer, who, again, agreed to join in. To make it even more interesting, super producer Jens Bogren was hired to mix and master the album, and they’ve also found Axel Mackenrott (Masterplan) willing to play a keyboard solo on a song. The debut album of the band, 'Twelve', is an interesting product to say the least.
Who thought that the (guest) musicians were an indication for a technical progressive metal band is dead wrong, the music can be best described as symphonic metal with a small hint of prog. 'Twelve' is certainly not a bad album, the music is very accessible, the sound is excellent, musically everything is on par (as you’d expect), and singer Scarpeccio can also sing quite well. However, I’m not impressed by the album at all, this has to do with a number of things. Let's start with the vocals of Scarpeccio, sometimes it’s impossible to understand the words that she sings because of the (lack of) articulation and her Italian accent. Listen to the beginning of 'Purple Angels' to hear for yourself. The voice of James LaBrie sounds a lot better, it fits better with the music, it’s just a shame that he sings in the typical Dream Theater style (high and almost screaming), while he has such a beautiful voice in the lower registers. It’s also strange that the 'radio edit' of 'Taken' was prioritized over the original version, usually it’s the other way around. Finally, I also find the compositions little innovative, they are certainly not bad but I feel like I've heard the songs many times before. It feels like the group has taken no risks.
If you are not innovative then you have to make sure that you are really good and that’s, unfortunately, not the case with Last Union. Don’t get me wrong, the musicianship is excellent and the compositions are certainly not bad, but it isn’t distinctive enough from all those other bands in this genre who basically do the same thing. It amazes me that musicians such as LePond and Kusch joined as regular band members. Anyway, 'Twelve' is a great album for anyone who doesn’t care about whether a band is original or not, doesn’t care about the singers articulation, and just wants to enjoy cool music. For me the music is a bit too generic to be very excited about, but then again I'm a prog-snob, so judge for yourself.