Imperia – Tears of Silence
Label: Massacre Records
U.S. Release Date: February 12, 2016
In the last year I’ve started listening to Imperia in decreasing amounts. Whenever their music appears on shuffle I’ll listen to it, and occasionally I consider listening to their stuff more often, but for the most part that hasn’t happened. However, the new album Tears of Silence has given me a reason to listen to them again, and it does live up to the expectations that I had beforehand. It’s not as incredible as I thought their last album was at the time I reviewed it, but it doesn’t hold up badly against the rest of a strong discography.
First off, a round of applause for Oliver Philipps (Everon) and his incredible orchestral arrangements. They really help to make Tears of Silence a success. There’s a lot of folk influence brought into the music this time around which hasn’t been done by Imperia before, but I quite like it and I think that they work it well. Aside from that there’s still a lot of tinkering piano, but no over-the-top synths that made songs like ‘Touch of Your Hand’ so epic. I guess you’d call it a trade-off, as it wouldn’t work with the other things that the orchestration does here.
Guitars are heavy, but also buried under the orchestral in a way. It’s odd, because they’re clearly powerful but yet aren’t really felt all that much as a result. Most of the emphasis of Imperia‘s work as a symphonic metal band is naturally from the orchestral arrangements, so perhaps it’s not all that surprising that the guitars don’t get much chance to shine. Still, I know that the guitarist Jan Yrlund can add more influence than he gets to here, and it’s a shame that we only get to hear one or two moments across the entirety of Tears of Silence where he takes the lead.
Naturally, the main element of the band though is Helena Michaelsen‘s vocal work. She is a great singer, and she deserves the praise that I’ve given her previously. She’s got one of the most incredible ranges in the genre, and she has the ability to blend each level seamlessly into the next. The cackles are gone from this record, and I think that’s one of the main reasons that the whole performance sounds smoother than on previous albums. She doesn’t spend so much time singing at the highest end of soprano, which is a shame as that is arguably her greatest strength, but overall she’s very convincing on this record.
My one complaint about Tears of Silence is that there aren’t really any stand-out moments. Everything is in the range of good to great, but nothing reaches the level of spectacular. There’s nothing like ‘Touch of Your Hand’ from Secret Passion, or the title-track from Queen of Light. Sure, there aren’t any particular songs that I’d like to forget about either, but like I said with Children of Bodom‘s latest effort I Worship Chaos, I’d rather that there were some songs that are incredible than all of them being at the same level, even at the cost of some bad songs too. Especially given that there’s an hour of content on here, it does get tiring when there isn’t a single track that really blows you away.
It has to be said though that Imperia have largely delivered again with Tears of Silence, and I’m glad that they’ve given me a good reason to listen to the band again. This album makes a good addition to their discography, and I’d recommend that you give it a spin if you like symphonic/gothic metal.