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After Jani decided to leave the band, I was rather disappointed. Yet when The Fallen Empire came out, I went and bought it anyway, since I really liked their second album, Divinity.
Well, this album is truly good, and quite surprised me. It is on par as Divinity, really. Altaria’s music is not that heavy, a bit like Sonata Arctica or Stratovarius, without the fast double-bass song. So in itself, it is rather surprising that I like so much Altaria’s music, being an adept of faster songs (yeah, I like Dragonforce...).
Or is it that surprising? Because even if their album does not fall within my usual appreciation range, it is extremely well done. Everything is in its place. The guitar, the bass, the drums, the singing. The voice, in fact, is one of the best I heard, that guy is able to put emotions in it, yet without becoming mellow. And the new guitarist left Celesty for a band which sounds much more mature – less dragons, more substance. Good move, since he is quite talented.
The riffs are not bad, simple, yet efficient in their own right, and the melodies are sure to stay in your mind for long. They usually do not use a very aggressive distortion, which makes the songs sound more melodic. The bassist is not a milestone of the band, but its work is clearly more audible on this album than on many other albums in the same vein (probably due to the absence of keyboard on all songs but the Europe bonus – which is quite a good song, too bad for those who got another version...). Simply reading the titles of the song make me remember very clearly the melodies, and all compositions on The Fallen Empire are that memorable. The structure is quite simplistic, however, yet it does not feel like it. The songs are quite rockish at times, and there is one song that stands out as definitely not good, and it’s the Lion, but skip it and you’ll find an album almost without flaws.
The themes are often drifting into spirituality, without using the spiritual mumbo-jumbo à la Stratovarius, but still keep a fantasy approach that is quite unique. The song Crucifix is quite the standout on this album.
To conclude, this album is a good follow up to Divinity. It might not be as fast as Dragonforce or be that aggressive, its efficiency is undeniable.