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Imperia - Flames of Eternity

Imperia
Flames of Eternity
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 18 February 2019, 4:23 AM

IMPERIA is Symphonic Metal band from various international backgrounds but based in the Netherlands.  “Flames of Eternity,” is their fifth full length and the first time they have released music since 2015’s “Tears of Silence.”  I remember listening to their debut album “The Ancient Dance of Qetesh,” a lot back in the day.  Honestly, I didn’t even know they were even still active so when this promo came across my desk, I was excited to review it.

Unfortunately, I must say I am underwhelmed. It isn’t a bad album but it doesn’t blow me away by any means.  As with most symphonic bands, the vocals are the vocal point of the band’s music and, in that respect, they do impress.  Helena is one hell of a singer with a great diversity to her repertoire and a fantastic range.  Even when the songs were starting to bore me, her voice kept making me finish and at least give them a chance. Musically, the guitar and bass, while solid, didn’t do much to excite me.  At times, it felt as if they were just there as an afterthought or to just make the music seem heavier.   There are some great moments of melody and some catchy harmonies throughout but the riffs themselves seem a bit bland.

The album is definitely front loaded as the first three tracks are the best.  The opening track, “The Scarred Soul,” starts with those catchy melodies and harmonies I spoke of earlier.  The chorus is extremely catchy and has a Gothic vibe that takes me back to bands like THEATRE OF TRAGEDY, TRISTANIA, and LACUNA COIL.  The symphonic portion of the music is well done and not too over bearing but also isn’t as involved as some bands like EPICA or NIGHTWISH incorporate; this could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. The second track, “Fear is An Illusion,” is probably the best song on the album due in no small part to Helena's soaring vocals and, most importantly, her death growls/screams.  I really wish she used these more often.  Once again, this song features a catchy as hell chorus and some great melodies on the guitar.

The third track “Unspoken Words,” is in much of the same vein as the previous two which really offsets any variety but, as I said, it is one of the better tracks and the final track before the album drops off in quality.  One of the biggest issues I have is the pacing of the album; there is three ballads on this album and they kill the flow.  I like a good ballad or two as much as the next person but three is a bit much.  One of these tracks, “Invisible Tears”, is almost eight minutes long but it does nothing interesting in that time and it is about three minutes too long. Within this jumbled mess of a track list lies “The Ocean,” which feels like it should had been the last song so the album could go out with a decent bang.

I wanted to like this album more than I did but, and I’ve said this before, Symphonic Metal is probably the most bloated subgenre in Metal right now so it takes a lot to stand out in the ever growing crowd.

Songwriting:5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Scarred Soul
2. Fear Is A Illusion
3. Unspoken Words
4. Book of Love
5. Blinded
6. Invisible Tears
7. Otherside
8. Beauty Within
9. My Guardian Angel
10. The Ocean
11. A Crying Heart
12. Mother (piano version)
Lineup:
Gerry Verstreken – Bass
Steve Wolz – Drums
Jan “Orkki” Yrlund – Guitars
Helena Iren Michaelsen – Vocals
Oliver Philipps – Keys (Session)
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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