Issa Another World album

Issa – Another World (Album Review)

Issa 2024

In the modern world more often than not there seems to be fewer ladies of Rock singing with the passion of yesteryear. A statement that may stop you cold in your tracks, hear it out before jumping to conclusions. The truth is there are more women in all forms of Rock-n-Roll, particularly Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, than ever before providing much inspiration for the future. All very positive steps forward, looking at things closer, how many are going for a sound that marries heaviness with a classic ‘80s Pop tendinous?  The answer is very few, because the more modern woman of Metal is opting to express their talents in more extreme forms of the musical style where growls and screams are much more prevalent. Great to see more equality in that regard, it is still refreshing to see women like Isabell “Issa” Øversveen carrying her torch of Rock-n-Roll down avenues less travelled.

Out of Norway, known simply as Issa, her music is something different than what is currently trending, and with that, sticks out like a sore thumb. Some may say her style is retro in the respect that it sounds as if it could easily fit right in the ‘80s era alongside some of Hard Rock’s giants like Journey, Heart, or Lita Ford. What is dubbed by some as AOR (Album-oriented Rock), Issa’s story began nearly fifteen years ago when she released the debut album Sign of Angels in 2010. From here continuing to create impassioned Hard Rock with six more studio albums -from 2011’s The Storm leading into 2023’s Lights of Japan – she returns yet again with Another World.

What is Issa’s eighth overall studio record, Another World is a fitting next chapter in many regards. For starters, last year’s Lights of Japan found the singer taking a new direction with the music that harked back to earlier recordings. With this, she and her band (James Martin on synthesizers, Tom Martin on guitars/bass, plus Leon Robert Winteringham on guitars), join to create what could be the most enthralling Issa album to date. Released on June 7, 2024 through Frontiers Music s.r.l., it comes at you with eleven tracks in total, and each is ultimately invigorating.

A complete album in every sense of the world, there are heavy rockers, mellower ballads, and everything in between. Truly a delightful homage to ‘80s Hard Rock with hooky vocals, irresistible melodies, and production that is so unbelievably smooth, yet dynamic, there is nothing to dislike here. Granted, if you are a cynic who thinks that you are too cool for more melodic forms of Rock as we heard in the ‘80s, then you probably will not be into Issa nor what she is doing on Another World. However, if you are someone who is not just on a nostalgic trip about the past, but sincerely appreciates the nuance of this form of music, this album is directly in your wheelhouse.

Dripping with one memorable track after another, absolute must-listens include “Armed & Dangerous” the outstanding ballads “Only in the Dark” and “A Second Life,” plus the title-track, as well as “Lost & Lonely.” Each of these mentioned, plus pretty much the remainder of the album, are full of powerful vocal performances, well-constructed guitar riffs, and just the right amount of synthesizer created ambience. In truth, Issa is exactly what the Hard Rock scene needs right at this moment. Feminine, yet still a dominant Rock-n-Roll queen who is unashamed and confident, Cryptic Rock gives this talented lady and Another World 5 out of 5 stars. 

Issa Another World album
Issa – Another World / Frontiers srl (2024)

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