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Altaria - The Fallen Empire (CD)

The Fallen Empire
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 September 2006, 4:35 PM

It is not easy for certain albums to be 'healthily' reviewed, since much are the chances for en editor to be 'carried' to the trouble-free conclusion to put 'em in a certain category. I plead guilty; I was ready to act such regarding Altaria and their new effort, The Fallen Empire. A 'close' second look was enough to re-edit this review, though…
Altaria - hailing from Finland- was not familiar to my ears till now. From one hand, the Metal Heaven label is keen on releasing more-than-average albums during this year, while the band's cover artwork proposed an interesting Euro Metal audition. Thus, the CD fell in my hands with delight. Two albums in prior - Invitation (2003) and Divinity (2004) - never managed to reach my stereo system, so the audition began from point zero. Hence, the initial impression on this 2000-formed band did lead to a Hammerfall / Edguy 'clone'. Another try was crucial; so was it done…
The first thing that 'built up' my opinion was singer Taage's voice. 'Specific' yet sentimental, sweet yet passionate, polished yet 'experienced', he may be the strongest 'ace' for the band. Narrative at some times, a traveler at other, he has the ability to take the whole song on his shoulders! Somehow 'away' from the average - sorry! - voice of Joacim Cans, Taage flirts a lot with the Scandinavian Hard Rock singing 'mode' (some of Timo Kotipelto, also) while he can't hide his passion for Bruce Dickinson (in terms of word continuance). Not high in the mix, his vocal harmonies grabbed me by the balls - without reaching any high peaks.
As for the rest of the crew: all players are suitable, but special notice should be made for new axeman  J-P Alanen. A 'newbie' in Altaria - since Jani Liimatainen decided to fully concentrate to his main band Sonata Arctica - is a killer, with celestial AOR-like solos, Swedish 'old school' riffing and  a great sound. Apart from the 'solid' rhythm section, the keyboards do back-up the tunes rather efficiently, taking the leading part only where needed.
I had the chance to be informed that the band's two previous albums were more into 'typical' Euro Power Metal - a killer instinct! - but this one definitely belongs to a more Melodic Metal category. Not to omit the fact that many song parts are AOR-orientated, it is obvious that with The Fallen Empire this band touches mid-tempo melody the maximum level. Essential for the likes of At Vance, Narnia and (even) (late) Hammerfall/Edguy fans.

3 Star Rating

Valley Of Rainbows
Abyss Of Twilight
Frozen Hearts
The Lion
Outlaw Blood
Chosen One
Access Denied
The Dying Flame (European bonus)
J-P Alanen - Guitars
Taage - Vocals
Tony S. - Drums
Marko Pukkila - Bass
Record Label: Metal Heaven


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