It’s been 4 years since their last release, and Imperia have now returned with their 3rd album, “Secret Passion”. Once again, they have presented us with an album that steps with one foot on symphonic metal, and with the other on gothic metal.
“Secret Passion” has everything such an album is supposed to have. The vocals of Helena Michaelsen (Angel, ex-Trail Of Tears) are simply amazing, and they change from one song to another. There are some heavy guitar riffs, the keyboards give a beautiful gothic essence, and on certain songs the drums stand out nicely. On the other hand, we have the orchestral parts, arranged by Oliver Phillips (Everon), which are very impressive, and add to the depth of the music. Another plus is that there is a continuous change of pace throughout the album. You can listen to some nice, up-beat, heavy songs, or to some mid-tempo and slow ones.
The album starts off with “Touch Of Your Hand”, which is a good, fast song, with some electronic elements at the beginning (something we hear in many songs, but in a controlled way). “Secret Passion” follows, with a very nice intro and a catchy chorus, but it is “Fragile” that is, in my opinion, the best song of this album. We are talking about an intense song, with a bit of an oriental feeling at the start, and an impressive, operatic chorus. Helena Michaelsen is singing with both her soprano and her softer voice. Electronic stuff is present here, too, but it doesn’t bother. Of course, the ballads aren’t missing. “Let Down”, “Like Rain”, “Hold On” are some fine, slow songs, but a special reference must be made for “My Sleeping Angel”. This is another highlight of this album. Helena Michaelsen sings this touching lullaby for her daughter, with Oliver Phillips on the clean male vocals, and with the accompaniment of a single piano. And then, there is “Suicide”, a weird, yet interesting song. In it you will hear some very heavy guitar riffs, bagpipes, and Nina Hagen-like vocals, and as a result you have a very powerful song. The only negative is the bonus track, “Mistress”, in the Digipak edition. This song reminds very much of Theater Of Tragedy in their “Assembly” period, and it feels like it doesn’t fit in any way in this album.
So all in all, I would say that Imperia have given us a very decent release. As I stated above, there are many good things in this album, from the orchestration and the production, to the composition, but I don’t think that it has anything new to offer. Imperia here just follow the path of Nightwish, Sirenia, and any other symphonic metal band. At least, they are doing it well enough, and the fans of the genre will be quite satisfied with it.
Label: Massacre Records
Label: Massacre Records
Helena Iren Michaelsen – Vocals
Jan Örkki Yrlund – Guitar
Gerry Verstreken – Bass
Steve Wolz – Drums
Review for Metal Temple