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Altaria - Wisdom

by Kevin Lewis at 20 September 2022, 11:56 AM

ALTARIA is a five-piece Finnish Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band formed in 2000. After four successful albums in Europe, they split due to personal reasons, but reformed in 2019. The timing was a bit unfortunate in that the pandemic stalled their planned 20th anniversary reunion tour and slowed down the new record. As the world emerges from the lockdown, ALTARIA have released their long awaited fifth disc, “Wisdom,” on July 8, 2022, via Reaper Entertainment.

The album opens with the title track, “Wisdom.” This is a melodic, mid-tempo track with a moderately heavy rhythm. This is closer to 80s Hard Rock/Glam Metal than some of the other tracks. The guitars are solid, and the solo work is really good. The vocals are clean throughout the entire album, so they do not try to cross over into the more modern heavy metal that often incorporates growls. There is very little grit to the voice either, sticking more to the higher ranges of his voice.

Diablo Rojo” is much the same in tempo and tone. The riff is a just a bit heavier, darker, though the vocals stay in the same area as “Wisdom.” The rhythm is also much the same, solid, radio friendly. “Without Warning” has a melodic riff with some nice keyboard work layered in under the riff, giving it a bit more texture.

One of the heavier riffed songs on the album is “Power to Heal.” It has a bit of grit in the voice and some Jon Lord style keyboards built into the track. This is one of the more exciting tracks because it has a bit more bite to it. Here, ALTARIA break from the radio friendly offerings they’ve given us and get a bit more aggressive.

Victory Of Winter” has a heavy intro that immediately drops to power ballad status, though it does get a bit heavier for the chorus. This one feels like a power ballad/hard rock anthem mash up. It is a good song, though, never straying too far afield from the main theme of the track or the album as a whole.

The surprise song for me is “Crimson Rain,” an eight-and-a-half-minute track that covers a lot of ground. It has some darker sections mixed in with the typical Hard Rock of the record. The tone of the song is just a bit more complex and ominous when compared to the rest of the lyrical content. The track is a bit heavier in tone and texture. I often like the deeper cuts on many records, and this one is a deep cut. It’s too long for radio play and most of the streaming algorithms, but this is the song that really shows what ALTARIA can do.

The album concludes with a bonus track, “Kingdom of the Night.” This is a fairly standard Hard Rock track. It’s well-written and executed and fits well into the overall theme of the record. It brings everything back to center after the exploration done on “Crimson Rain.”

ALTARIA is a solid Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band. They have a sound that is radio friendly and accessible to a wide variety of music fans. These guys could have fit well into the 1980s and are built for fans of WHITESNAKE, GREAT WHITE, and KINGDOM COME.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Wisdom
2. Without Warning
3. Diablo Rojo
4. Kissed by the Flames
5. Power to Heal
6. Sometimes
7. Victory of Winter
8. History of Times to Come
9. Lost in Time
10. Crimson Rain
Taage Laiho – Vocals
Marko Pukkila – Bass
Tony Smedjebacka – Drums
Juha Pekka Alanen – Guitar
Petri Aho – Guitar
Record Label: Reaper Entertainment


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