3.5 out of 5 Stars!
From the city of Amsterdam, Imperia is—what a shock!—another band that falls into the Nightwish/Within Temptation/After Forever category. Thankfully, although Imperia is indeed another one of the zillions of groups that jumped on the “Symphonic Metal With Female Singers” bandwagon in the early 2000s, the band at least has a vocalist who can actually sing flawlessly on key.
Helena Iren Michaelsen has quite the beautiful voice, whether she’s hitting the rafters with her operatic overtures or singing “normally” during the quieter sections, so there’s nothing horrible here, unlike many lesser-known acts in this genre that feature female vocalists who couldn’t find the right key without the aid of a tuner and a compass.
Although occasionally some of Imperia’s songs seem a bit dense—overloaded with thick instrumentation, arrangements far busier than needed, heavy production quality and reverb—the general impression I nevertheless received when hearing Queen of Light (Imperia’s second release) is of a highly competent band with an ear for intricate melody, so that’s not at all shabby.
And the other BIG plus is that this album does NOT include those horrific guttural/growling “beast” male vocals that destroy so many songs by so many other bands in this genre. So for that fact alone, Imperia is far more advanced than the norm and I enjoyed this album nearly as much as the music I own by Nightwish, Within Temptation, and After Forever.