Imperia – Flames of Eternity (Massacre Records)Wednesday, 20th February 2019
Despite a discography that includes four previous full-length releases before Flames of Eternity, they were an act that never seemed to garner much attention from this scribe. But after checking out an early video for “Fear is an Illusion,” it seemed proper timing to give them more of an investigation. But what happens when you just so happen to hear what’s by far the strongest track to start as your introduction?
Unfortunately, the totality of Flames of Eternity doesn’t really compare to the initial richness of “Fear is an Illusion.” There are a few problems at hand that most likely have kept the band in a similar position for many. Outside of three tracks (“Fear is an Illusion,” “Blinded,” and “Book of Love”), nothing really grabs the listener and compels them to continue onward. It’s not that the remaining tracks are horrible, but in some cases, even worse – they just seem to fall flat. They are simply doing more or less the same things that others do in the symphonic metal genre, but with an alarming lack of energy. “Invisible Tears” is a near 8-minute ballad that only accomplishes about 3-minutes worth of material. Add to that several more ballads in the one hour runtime and it never manages to create any forward momentum. “Otherside” and “My Guardian Angel” seem entirely taken away by symphonic metal tropes in that they have big, bombastic synths but render the riffing almost useless and unimportant. What the initial draw was with “Fear is an Illusion” was the addition of some growls, which added some flavor, and they are sorely lacking in the rest of the material. “Blinded” makes up for it with some more energetic tempos and guitar tone, and “Book of Love” works on the softer side without dipping too far into the clichéd ballad well for inspiration. If only the rest of the material was cut from this same cloth.
It seems Imperia are really stuck in the ‘more is more’ symphonic metal mentality, and it’s preventing them from reaching full potential. The positively mentioned tracks are well-done, but it doesn’t make up for the bloated runtime full of ‘been there, heard that’ middle of the road tracks.