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Imperia – The Last Horizon

Imperia
The Last Horizon
by Jean-François Poulin at 03 March 2021, 7:54 AM

IMPERIA is a Symphonic Metal band from various parts of Europe including Germany, Finland, Norway and Belgium. The creation of the band is a doozy, two one of the founding members of this band were supposed to join SAHARA DUST, the band that would become EPICA. In all actuality, former drummer Steve Wolz and actual female vocalist Helena Michaelsen were supposed to be integral part of that band. Well it turns out that they were replaced by Simone Simons and Jeroen Simons before anything was recorded.

So IMPERIA was formed back in 2003 and this is their 6th full-length album and first since 2019’s ‘’Flames of Eternity’’. Steve Wolz recruited Helena Iren Michaelsen after her stint as the Contralto Female Vocalist for the widely known Gothic Metal band, TRAIL OF TEARS. Even though the joining of SAHARA DUST failed to materialize, they decided to form their own band back in the Netherlands. One thing you can obviously say is that since 2003, they have had pretty much the same lineup and that’s not something you see too much nowadays. The four core members have been together for over 15 years…

This is a prime example of a band that tries a bit too hard to resemble other bands in the genre. The structure is eerily similar to bands like the aforementioned EPICA or early WITHIN TEMPTATION. They don’t try to distinguish themselves from other bands out there and the contrast and complex structure of songs just falls flat. You have absolutely a great female vocalist that has the range and power but the balance between the more operatic vocals and the more traditional vocals is chaotic at best.

The album is very accessible and it has some pretty catchy songs but all I can say is that most of the album is interchangeable. There is no rhyme or reason at times and all the songs seems to mold into one mediocre song. I think the fact that you don’t have dual vocalists may hurt the overall effectiveness of the songs. You only have operatic vocals about 80% of the time and it can get on the nerves and pretty quicky as I might add. If you had maybe that contrast with growls, it would made a world of difference. The album creates a mood and a nice atmosphere but it’s not something we haven’t heard before.

I am not knocking the quality of the musicians at hand, Helena has a wonderful voice and I can see why she would have made a great choice as female vocalist for SAHARA DUST and you have some very capable musicians. I felt the whole album missed the boat and it seems to start off pretty solidly and then all songs seems to be the same structure. The ballads and slower songs are probably the best part of the album but the variety is a bit meaningless if the music lacks some serious substance and quality.

They try to sound so much like the bands that are reigning on top of that genre and they kinda forgot who they were really. The album is a carbon copy, paint by numbers attempt at a Symphonic Metal album. It lacks that fire in the belly, I mean it’s not bad but it’s not overly good anyhow. It’s like a middle of the road album, something you listen one time and you put back in the drawer. The lack of homogeneity hurts the overall essence of the album and unfortunately the progressions and melodies are extremely predictable. It’s fine for what it is but you have so many better bands in the genre to sink your teeth in.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dream Away
2. Starlight
3. To Valhalla I Ride
4. Flower and the Sea
5. Blindfolded
6. While I Am Still Here
7. Only a Dream
8. Where Are You Now
9. I Still Remember
10. Dancing
11. My Other Half
12. One Day
13. I Send You My Love
14. Let Down (Piano Version)
Lineup:
Jan Yrlund - Guitars
Gerry Verstreken – Bass
Helena Iren Michaelsen – Vocals
Merjin Mol - Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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