In August 16, 1996, three years after leaving Helloween, Kiske released his first solo album, INSTANT CLARITY. The album featured guest appearances by Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden, Kai Hansen and contained songs in a wide variety of styles. A music video for the ballad “Always”, dedicated to deceased Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, was filmed and produced in New York City. INSTANT CLARITY was reissued in 2006 with the addition of 4 bonus tracks.
His second solo album, READINESS TO SACRIFICE was released in Korea and Japan in 1999 and in Europe in 2001. The music on the album featured Michael moving completely away from his heavy metal roots and even contained two symphonic songs.
In 2006, Michael Kiske released his third full-length solo album under the name of KISKE. The album contained songs in a mellow, acoustic singer-songwriter style and was a step away from the sound of his previous solo albums. According to Michael, “It’s a healthy-careless and musically free album. I am very proud of this record because it is a true statement from myself, and I could easily build up new things from it, but also can let it stand there as an artistic closing-comment from myself, because I am sure I will still like this album in 10 years time!”.
In 2008, Kiske released his fourth solo work, entitled PAST IN DIFFERENT WAYS. The album contained acoustic re-arrangements of his old Helloween material and one new song. According to Kiske the album “on one hand shows that I don’t reject my past just because I’m a different person today, and on the other hand it can maybe give people who were part of that past a different view at those songs”.