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Scrap Angel, this is what you're good at - 85%

PorcupineOfDoom, December 8th, 2014

After listening to the side-project of this band named Angel and finding that to be bullshit, I was admittedly hesitant to try listening to Imperia. One way or another though I've ended up listening to their album Queen of Light, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn't actually as bad as my impressions of them were. It may actually rival Evolvent's first album, which is a credit to the band.

First things first, Helena Iren Michaelsen has a much better voice than I was made aware of on Angel's single Don't Wanna Run. I knew she had a decent set of pipes, but nothing like what she manages on this. Her range is incredible and she manages to ride the music perfectly. Vocals are the key to this genre, and she certainly drives the band forward. Operatic when necessary (which are actually the vocals I feel she does the best), dipping to lower tones at points and switching to some form of witch's cackle occasionally. That last thing might sound a little weird (which I can't deny that it is), but it seems to fit in well enough.

Like Evolvent, the keyboards are the secondary force in the band. They're clearly heard competing with the guitars (a battle which they win for the most part), and they're played with far more originality than the side project that just recycled the same sequence of notes throughout the entire album. I'm liking what I'm hearing from this band so far.

While they may not be the most forefront instrument in the mix, the guitars do tend to have a solo in most of the songs. They're not played badly across the album, but the keyboard is heard more than they are. As for the drums, for the most part they are well-hidden behind everything else that's going on, but they're also played to a decent level when you can hear them. Norway especially is the track that you're likely to hear them on.

Speaking of Norway, it's one the best tracks on the album (although personally I believe the very best to be the title track). The reason that I dedicate a paragraph to this track rather than the one I consider to be the best is that this one is a little different from what else is being offered. It's slightly heavier than the other tracks, but the female vocals are operatic throughout (there are some growls in there too, which aren't seen elsewhere, but they're not anything great). In some ways I guess you could say it's reminiscent of Theatre of Tragedy, but the way the music comes together is different. Like I said, it isn't the best track on the album, but it is still very enjoyable.

There are other good tracks as well, and although the album is over an hour long the quality holds up surprisingly well towards the end. If I were them I'd probably cut it down a little bit, but they still do a respectable job. Many of the good songs are actually nearer the end than the start, and it's not often you can say that the second half of the album is better than the first.

This is a really good album by a band that clearly has a lot of potential to become a big thing in the world of symphonic/gothic metal. While it might just be edged out by Evolvent's album Delusion, it's certainly one of the best gothic albums I've heard. One final message to the band: please, please, please continue to produce this kind of music as apposed to the abysmal work that Angel creates.