|Genre||Gothic Symphonic/Power Metal|
|Release Date||22 Feb 2019|
This album starts off with a fucking bang. The orchestrations are juicy, the rhythm parts pound away, and Helena Michaelsen’s voice leads your ear like a lighthouse in a storm. It’s dynamic, expressive, and easily takes its place even as one of Imperia’s best tracks ever. A flame is ignited in your heart as you anticipate what’s to come.
But then, it happens. You’re left wondering where the ‘The Scarred Soul”s promises of grandeur and hard-hitting symphonic metal have gone, as they’re replaced only by the disorienting flurry of conflicting instrumentals and a whirlwind of shattered dreams and betrayal until you’re left musically starved and stranded on the desert island that is uninspiration.
Ok, it’s not that bad, but it’s not great, either. I definitely expected way more from this record, especially from that first song, but it’s a really mediocre product from a band that has otherwise seemed to know what they were doing with their previous four albums. Each track continues the downward spiral of quality, with bits and pieces here and there that tease better things that never come to fruition. The progressions and melodies are extremely predictable, and the orchestrations and songwriting are sloppy at best.
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot that I like about this album. The production quality is clean, but the symphonic elements are mixed way too loudly. Most of what keeps the album afloat are the guitar solos, which are pretty good and easily overshadow everything else, except maybe Helena’s beautiful vocals.
There’s no shortage of variety in Flames of Eternity as far as feel goes, but the underlying tone doesn’t vary much. There are some slow (albeit not super great) songs, such as ‘Book of Love’ and ‘Beauty Within’, as well as some fiery features like ‘Blinded’ (which, quite honestly, made me cringe a bit from Helena’s operatic vocals). However, variety is meaningless if the music lacks substance and quality.
Needless to say, this album lacks any sort of fire whatsoever. It’s not crap, but it’s not good, either. Grap? Crood, maybe? Anyway, I think a huge part of the problem is that Imperia is trying way to fucking hard with this one, especially considering the fact that the four core members have been together for fifteen years. It feels neither sincere nor heartfelt, which is especially crucial in a gothic symphonic band. Go ahead and check it out if you think I’m full of shit, though. Maybe the entire thing went over my head.