Rexoria – Imperial Dawn (Sound Pollution/Black Lodge)

Monday, 13th February 2023
Rating: 7.5 / 10

Always a staple in this scribe’s listening diet, melodic heavy metal fires up the aural chambers of one’s soul – demanding a serious ritual of headbanging, fist waving, singalong good times. Especially when all the right parts align as far as hooks, songwriting, and key transitions/trademarks. Swedish act Rexoria since 2016 have been making their mark on this scene, releasing two albums and two EP’s in very quick fashion, enough so to secure several European touring opportunities with acts like Battle Beast, Bloodbound, Dynazty, and Hardcore Superstar to name a few.

Possibly cooling their creative jets (as many musicians would) due to the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic of the past few years, Imperial Dawn comes out after the previous Ice Breaker album from the fall of 2019. The third full-length aims to capture a wide array of metal followers who enjoy everything from electronic-driven hard rock anthems, folk-inspired efforts, as well as the natural metal penchant present in the riffing, tempos, and soaring, multi-octave vocals. When pushing the power gear to the floor in terms of double kick patterns or crunchy, speed style guitar riffs, you get “Rage and Madness” – Teutonic in spirit, the lead work exhilarating next to the outer galactic keyboard swirls and larger than life choir-oriented chorus. At other times cultural/folk-like musical passages transport the arrangements to commercial Battle Beast meets Orden Ogan horizons – check out “Fading Rose”, while closer “Enchanted Island” incorporates everything from Bloodbound to Sabaton in terms of pacing, semi-galloping riffs, plus the larger triumphant keyboard march. Tight transitions allow the supreme vocal abilities of Frida Ohlin to shine – sprinkling the right grit in the verses then belting notes to the heavens as an ideal metal vocalist should to make “Paradigm” plus mid-tempo anthem “Horizon” highlight reel material.

Rexoria certainly have the pop/electronic sensibilities down to their melodic heavy metal ways – along with the proper hook/melody combinations to bring this material home for touring/festival purposes. Imperial Dawn doesn’t exactly break new ground – it’s designed to make people feel energized, happy, and alive, so treat this record as such and enjoy the entertainment present.

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