Impera band photo

IMPERA – Pieces Of Eden

Impera - Pieces of EdenIt was almost exactly one year to the day since Impera released their critically acclaimed debut album Legacy Of Life. In this day and age, it’s really rare that it only takes a band one year in between albums, not like the 70’s when some bands could put out two albums within a year. Today it’s not unusual that it takes bands three or four years in between albums, in the 70’s three years would have been considered a come back. So when it takes a band only a year to release a new album, I usually become suspicious. I’m thinking that maybe the artist has rushed things, maybe neither the songwriting nor production will be up to match to its predecessor. I mean, when a band releases an album, there’s promotion to be done, then touring, then it’s time to write songs, demo them and then record them – all of that within one year. In all fairness, Impera hasn’t exactly gone out on a world-wide tour for months and months – it’s more like they have only played two shows since their debut was released, so all of a sudden, the 12 months in between the records doesn’t sound that much anymore. Still, no matter the length of time, Impera has to deliver the goods – their debut went down like a storm with both fans and with the rock press which makes for high expectations when a second one is out this fast. As a band leader and song writer, drummer J.K. Impera is untested to the big audience and even though he is in good company with guitarist Tommy Denander and singer Matti Alfonzetti, there was no saying on how he / they would handle the pressure of coming up with the goods once more so soon.

Now, some of the new songs were tested at their debut gig at Väsby Rock Festival this summer and from where I stood they sounded really good and boded well for the future. The only new song I remember them playing there was this album’s opening track “Beast Within”, a song that sounded good enough but I couldn’t really make that much out of it then and there. When it broke through my speakers, I surrendered immediately. The song is damn brilliant and for a melodic rock track, this is fierce stuff. The riffs are totally metal and with a great melody, the song becomes a real killer. “These Chains” follows with a magnificent groove and a catchy melody throughout the song, both verses and choruses, “All Alone” is a bit slower, more bluesy hard rock – so great, “Smalltown Blues” sounds like it had been picked up sometime in the 70’s and it sure do rock and “Since You’ve Been Gone” is a ballad, but no cheese here, no, this song has the blues all over it – fantastic. This time the boys decided to do a cover and knowing that both J.K. and bass player Mats Vassfjord (also Grand Design and Laney’s Legion) are both HUGE Kiss fans, the choice of cover might seem a bit obvious. But instead of choosing a Kiss tune, they decided on “Goodbye” from Paul Stanley’s 1978 solo album. Cool choice and they make a great version of it, they even got Bob Kulick to play guitar on it as he played on the original version. The song is also featured on the Kiss tribute album A World With Heroes. But even though I really like the song, it wouldn’t be my first choice to cover from that album – I mean there is “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me”. And “It’s Alright”. And “Tonight You Belong To Me”. Oh well, great version, no matter how you look at it. “Easy Come” is one of the poppiest moments of this album and one of my favourites, “You And I” is very memorable and a melodic rock killer, the metal influences comes back in the awesome “This Is War” and finishing “Fire And The Flame” is heavy and dark yet melodic enough – a great way to end a great album.

I must say I’m impressed by this. I mean, I really liked the debut and I know these guys aren’t new in the biz and I knew that the high quality of the first album wasn’t just beginners luck and yes, I thought that this album would be a pleasant experience, but this good? Well, no, not this good. Because this album is fantastic and I can’t find one damn thing to complain about here. Where the songs on the debut were all great, they’re even greater here. The production on this album is so fat that it makes the debut sound almost narrow. Maybe narrow is taking it a bit too far, but the production is marvellous here. For some reason, Impera has been put in the AOR section when their music is described, but this isn’t AOR. Impera plays hard rock – melodic hard rock. And if hard rock with great melodies and hooks is right up your alley, I can’t find one single reason not to buy this.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Tracklist:

1. Beast Within
2. These Chains
3. All Alone
4. Smalltown Blues
5. Since You’ve Been Gone
6. Goodbye
7. Easy Come
8. You and I
9. This is War
10. Fire and the Flame

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2 comments on “IMPERA – Pieces Of Eden

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