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Album Review By Chris Palmer
Imperial Age is a Symphonic Metal band which is based in Moscow. The band plays a form of Heavy Metal with extensive use of academic choirs and symphonic orchestras. Imperial Age was formed by Alexander “Aor” Osipov in 2010 and has a strong concept that can be seen, heard, and felt throughout its music, lyrics, and visual imagery.
Being the brainchild behind the band, “Aor” is the main songwriter and covers both backing vocals and keyboards throughout the music. He is joined by Jane “Corn” Obintsova [Keyboards/Vocals], Alexandra Sidorova [Lead Vocals], Dmitry “Dok” Rukhadze [Bass/Vocal Screams], Dmitry Kovalev [Drums], Alexander Strelnikov [Lead Guitar], and Igor “Kiv” Korolev [Rhythm Guitar].
Imperial Age released its debut album “Turn The Sun Off!” in 2012 and last year saw the release of second album “Warrior Race”, which I have the absolute pleasure of reviewing for Metal Gods TV.
During the recording sessions of this album, the following musicians made guest appearances: Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire/Angra) [Vocals on tracks 1, 3, 6, 7]; Dariusz Brzozowski (Dimmu Borgir/Vader) [Drums on tracks 1, 3, 4, 7); Sergei Lazar (Arkona/Rossomahaar) [Vocals on tracks 3, 6); and Vladimir Reshetnikov (Arkona) [Bagpipes on tracks 2, 6). It should also be mentioned that Maxim Novikov played Rhythm Guitar during the recording sessions.
Not being content with such a gathering of gifted musicians, Imperial Age also sought the abilities of an extremely talented choir throughout the recording of this, some would say, over-the-top collection of songs … A collection which consists of nine tracks and runs for over an hour.
To be honest this is, quite frankly, a musical masterpiece and begins with the incredible “Anthem Of Valour”. An anthem it most certainly is as an instrumentally-led opening leads you into operatic vocals. You’re then smacked in the face repeatedly by an onslaught of chugging riffs that wouldn’t go amiss on an Iron Maiden album. This epic opening number has everything a fan of Symphonic Metal could wish for … dual male/female operatic vocals and beautiful symphonies, all blended together with a thunderous attack of heavy guitars, bass lines, and drumming. This opening will leave you breathless and in awe of the talent on display.
The trend continues with the equally excellent “Aryavarta” with its folky tendencies and amazing female vocals. A combination that makes a piece of music that will instantly remind listeners of Tarja Turunen era Nightwish. The title track, “Warrior Race” approaches with rolling drums and great symphonies, which will soon be joined by a more harsher vocal attack. Normality will resume, however, as those male/female operatic vocals come in and this number progresses with excellent musicianship, albeit at a slower pace. “To Mega Therion” hits you next with a thundering combination of beautiful vocals and heavy, chugging riffs, as Imperial Age cover this Therion number to perfection. This track will have you headbanging from beginning to end with its Iron Maiden-like rhythms. The vocal attacks will leave you breathless during this insanely excellent track of epic proportions.
I’m left breathless and in total awe of this band and the music they make. Yet, Imperial Age impress me even more with the outstandingly heavy “Death Guard”, as they seem to up the ante to another level and have me closing my eyes and headbanging to my heart’s delight as I absorb those eloquently sung female vocals. “Battle Heart” makes its presence known with an excellent combination of heavy riffs, terrific rhythms, catchy vocals, and Folky tendencies. Seriously, is there anything Imperial Age can’t do? The answer is an immediate “no” as the wonderful pair “Vanaheim” and “Time Of Virginity II” follow.
Closing the album is the 14+ minute live rendition of “Turn The Sun Off!”, which will give you an idea of how terrific this band are in a live environment. It’s the perfect way to finish the album, but will most definitely leave you wanting more in more ways than one!
There’s so much going on throughout this album, it’s a challenging listen but a listen that will be repeated numerous times. The level of musicianship on display is thoroughly enjoyable and highly rewarding.
“Warrior Race” is an album that can be best described as being beautiful, bombastic, and brilliant! This is one of those special albums that has an amazing ability to touch and move the soul with so many emotions. Listening to each track reminds me of the time I first heard Iron Maiden … A moment when each track sends you into individual emotional experiences of wonder and excitement.
With “Warrior Race”, Imperial Age have made an album which is utterly superb. If you like the kind of music that comes from the likes of Avantasia, Dimmu Borgir, Manowar, Nightwish, Rhapsody, Therion, and Within Temptation, then you’ll absolutely love this!
I sincerely hope Imperial Age return to the UK soon and that I get the opportunity to see them perform live because, Imperial Age is a band whose music belongs on the stage rather than on a disc. Yet, having said that, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next release from this bloody brilliant band.
Anthem Of Valour
To Mega Therion
Time Of Virginity II
Turn The Sun Off! [Live]
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