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Imperia - The Last Horizon

På nye album ”The Last Horizon” satser Imperia på en blanding af Goth Metal og symfoniske elementer, og fortsætter dermed den stil, som de har udviklet henover de foregående fem udgivelser.
Sammenligner man musikken med andre bands i genren, som fx Within Temptation og Epica, så holder Imperia sig til arrangementer, der størrelsesmæssigt ligger en tand eller to under – her bruges de mere som en overbygning end som fundament for musikken. I stedet fokuseres der mere på numrenes melodiske sider, især omkvædene er der arbejdet med. Det giver også god mening, for det bringer sangerinden Helena Iren Michaelsen i centrum; med sin meget varierede vokal, der rækker fra almindelig sang til kraftfulde Operaindlæg, placerer hun sig som bandets største aktiv.
Imperia har således rammerne i orden, så resultatet afhænger af materialet. Her er flere melodier inspireret af traditionel Folkemusik, hvilket både passer fint stemningen og arrangementerne. Andre steder satses der meget på at gøre melodierne fængende med det resultat, at numrene kommer til at virke poppede og lidt mindre seriøse. Når man tænker på, hvor stort et set up der omgiver hele albummet, er det en skam – når det gælder fremførelse og produktion, har bandet meget at byde på, men sangskrivningen placerer ”The Last Horizon” i mellemklassen.

Tracklist:
Disc 1
1. Dream Away
2. Starlight
3. To Valhalla I Ride
4. Flower And The Sea
5. Blindfolded
6. While I Am Still Here
Disc 2
1. Only A Dream
2. Where Are You Now
3. I Still Remember
4. Dancing
5. My Other Half
6. One Day
7. I Send You My Love
8. Let Down (Piano Version)
Samlet spilletid: 68:31

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Imperia - Tears Of Silence

Med fire medlemmer fra lige så mange lande (Norge, Belgien, Tyskland og Finland) må Imperia siges at være en international affære. Bandet startede i 2004, og har med jævne mellemrund udsendt albums – det fjerde af slagsen er indspillet i det tyske Spacelab Studio og har fået titlen ”Tears Of Silence”.

Musikken er centreret omkring Helena Michaelsens vokal, som rækker fra det rene til det Opera-agtige. I vanlig Goth Metal stil er den tilsat musik, som forener Metal med store symfoniske arrangementer – her er der ikke nyt at hente. Til gengæld har den en alvorlig og lidt dyster stemning, som er meget klædelig.

I et par numre blander Imperia elementer af Folkemusik ind i musikken – en ting jeg også stødte på hos Coronatus på deres nyeste album. Her betyder det, at ”Friheten Vil Seire” og ”The Vikingsong” er udstyret med fløjter, sækkepiber og håndtrommer, og isoleret set lyder det udmærket; jeg synes bare ikke at det passer godt sammen med de episke omgivelser. Derfor håber jeg ikke, at der er tale om en ny trend inden for den symfoniske Metal.

Nej, den fungerer bedst i sin rene form, især når Metal-delen har så meget kant som “My Screaming Heart” og “Spirit Chase (Keep Fighting)”. Flere numre i samme kategori havde hævet albummet op over middel niveau, men desværre …

Tracklist:
1. Silence Is My Friend
2. Crossroads
3. Broken (When The Silence Cries)
4. Away
5. Friheten Vil Seire
6. My Screaming Heart
7. Motherlove
8. The Vikingsong
9. Spirit Chase (Keep Fighting)
10. Innocent Child
11. Wings Of Hope
12. We'll Be Free
13. Broken Hearts
Samlet spilletid: 65:40

 

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Imperia

Revolution Music: Hallo. First of I would like to congratulate you on your new album "Queen Of Light" witch will be released the 26th march.
Jan Yrlud: Hey thanks, we do appreciate this opportunity to share some words with Revolution-Music.dk!

Revolution Music: Could you start out by introducing your self and tell us what part in the band you have?
Jan Yrlud: I'm Jan "Örkki" Yrlund and I play guitar and compose music for Imperia.

Revolution Music: How and why did you come up with the name "Imperia"? Does it have any special meaning?
Jan Yrlud: I believe Helena told me that the first version of the band name was actually Imperium, but Imperia sounded more compact and original. It has this "imperial" sound to it and I think in that way it represents the epic and bombastic approach of the music pretty nicely.

Revolution Music: How did you all come together, and became the band you are today?
Jan Yrlud: After Helena left Trail Of Tears she wanted to put up her own band. In 2004 she found suitable persons through friends and her own connections. That was the first line up which recorded the debut album. Just before the release of the album me and our drummer joined in. Actually our bass player Gerry found me and I know him already a long time from his ex-bands. I think Steve got to the band through his other band Bethlehem, which Helena knew. And the other guitarist John was already in the band on the previous album of course. Well anyway, we've been together ever since. In 2005 we recorded and released the Angel album "Woman's Diary - Chapter I" and now this new Imperia album "Queen Of Light".

Revolution Music: This is your second album and is released trough Massacre Records, how did the contract get established, and how are they to work with?
Jan Yrlud: Well originally we had a record deal with Black Lotus Records. Actually they went down in the middle of our recordings so that was kind of bizarre situation for us. Anyways we and the producers had so much faith in the album that we just decided to continue nonetheless - without a label. In the meanwhile we got offers from different well established metal record labels and in the end we just compared the offers next to each other, listened to other bands and their experiences with those labels and made our decision. I think Massacre Records showed a real honest interest in us and of course they have helped a lot of artists in our genre before. So far we are really happy with them and they work very hard for the band.

Revolution Music: Why did you choose the title "Queen Of Light" for this record, does it have any special meaning?
Jan Yrlud: Yes it actually does. Helena gave birth to a baby girl Angel during this production and she wrote the lyrics about her - back then yet unborn - child. So that song is dedicated to Angel. We all thought that this song title would make a nice and powerful title for the whole album. The album itself is not really a concept album though, but handles issues of life and death in a wider sense.

Revolution Music: When you started working on this album, how long did the process take from the first step to the final product? Was it hard to write new material for this record or did it come naturally for you?
Jan Yrlud: We started in January 2006 and we were finished in September. Of course we didn't spent all that time in the studio - we're not that rich - but anyway it was a very long process to get this finished. Writing songs itself came very naturally and I have always many ideas in my head. I have several projects going on the same time, but always ideas. I think our keyboardplayer Audun has the same when he writes songs. Writing this album was very nice since we could do anything music wise and it was good to play metal again - as a guitarist.

Revolution Music: Where did you record the album, and who produced it?
Jan Yrlud: We recorded it in the Spacelab Studio in Germany and it was produced by Oliver Philipps and Moschus Moose.

Revolution Music: How was it to work with him?
Jan Yrlud: Well, I know them quite well so it felt almost like going home. In fact I've lived some years in that studio if counting all the productions I've done with them together. I think this was the eighth or ninth production or so. We also recorded the Angel album with them. Anyways they are cool guys and Oliver especially is a huge help with arranging parts and instruments. He plays piano by the way on the album.

Revolution Music: Are you trying to express something through your music?
Jan Yrlud: Well I think the best is when the music and the lyrics meet. I try to write emotional music and also heavy and dark music. When Helena writes her lyrics she always writes about her personal experiences, her own life. Sometimes this can be hidden in the symbolism, or sometimes straight and to the face. We try to get these emotions in the songs. These two sides of life, the sorrow and the joy are very much present in both the music and the lyrics. I hope we can reach people by writing about real things, real emotions.

Revolution Music: How has the album been received by the press, the critics and the fans so far?
Jan Yrlud: Oh so far excellent. We are really proud of this album and it feels good when people appreciate our hard work

Revolution Music: What is your view on the group's position in today's music scene?
Jan Yrlud: I never think of those things. And you can' t either as an artist. When you write songs you write songs because the songs got to come out and you want to create something, hopefully something which will be appreciated by your listeners. We are in a lucky position that we can do albums and play live and write the music we want to write. As for the rest I don' t care too much. And once we have done our work by creating an album it's out of our hands anyway.

Revolution Music: How would you compare the material on "Queen Of Light" to your previous material?
Jan Yrlud: I think it's maybe even more diverse, maybe also more serious and mature in many ways.

Revolution Music: How would you define your style?
Jan Yrlud: Metal. We're a metal band in the end. You can call it gothic, opera, power, heavy, folk or whatever metal but I think we have a bit of all of that in our music and an extra Imperia layer on the top.

Revolution Music: What kind of stuff did you grow up listening to, and what kind new music do you listen to these days?
Jan Yrlud: I grew up with punk and then with speed and thrash metal. My first band with a record deal and albums was a speed metal band in 88-89. That's old school. Nowadays I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, mainly gothic metal, some electro/wave bands and so on, but when I see a speed metal band live there I go again =)

Revolution Music: Have any of these bands been source of inspiration for the album?
Jan Yrlud: Not really I think. Of course every songwriter has his own style and I guess Audun would come with a different kind of an answer than me. But if you know my work with bands like Lacrimosa, Danse Macabre, Satyrian, Ancient Rites for ex., you might recognise something from those here and there. At least in the guitar playing and in the song writing.

Revolution Music: In your time as musicians, what is your biggest musical achievement so far?
Jan Yrlud: Every album is a milestone. And every album is in a way even important and precious. You know, gigs and tours come and go, but albums stay there for years. With Imperia this new album is the most important, but we have had also great shows, like supporting Nightwish in the sold out Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam.

Revolution Music: Could we expect any European tour and maybe se the band in action here in Denmark any time soon?
Jan Yrlud: We have a few festival dates coming up, for ex. at the Tuska Open Air in Helsinki, and hopefully we could visit Denmark as well soon. That would be really nice. I've been many times to Denmark, but the last gig was already some 15 years ago ha-ha. Well , I certainly hope we could play there. Maybe with our Royal Danish label mate, that would be really awesome!

Revolution Music: How did you think the music scene is in Europe, compared to the scene in the US?
Jan Yrlud: Can' t really compare to the US since I really don' t have a close view on that…

Revolution Music: What would be the ultimate tour, festival or show for you to play at?
Jan Yrlud: Oh there are so many countries to visit, Japan, China, South America and so on. I really enjoy travelling and there is just so many places to explore out there.

Revolution Music: Do you have any breaking news with the bands?
Jan Yrlud: We have a new album "Queen Of Light" out! Just kidding =)

Revolution Music: That's all we've get this time, do you have anything that you'd like to add or say?
Jan Yrlud: Well I hope the Danish readers will enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it! See you on the road someday I hope!

Revolution Music: We would like to say thanks a lot for you're time. And we wish all you guys all the luck in the future whatever it might bring. And thanks to True Music for setting this interview up.
Jan Yrlud: No problem, thank you!

Cheers, Jan

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