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Imperia - The ancient dance of Qetesh 3/5

Reviewed: 4-1-05


1. Awakening
2. Mysted by desire
3. The ancient dance of Qetesh
4. Mordor
5. Angelchild
6. Escape
7. Into paradise
8. Entering the perspective
9. Into the great wide open
10. Secret garden
11. Scared for love
12. In your mind
13. Chill out

This is the debut from Helena Iren Michaelsen, the ex-Trail of Tears female vocalist. While Trail of Tears is pure gothic metal, I'm not sure what genre I would place this CD in. There are some fantastic power metal songs that remind me of Nightwish's masterpiece 'Oceanborn', but some of the songs are slow or mid-paced, caught somewhere in the middle of other metal genres. There are a good amount of atmospheric songs that actually bring us something new, but I love speed, and would have really been impressed by this if it were focused on power metal. Just like with her previous band Trail of Tears, Helena sings in the opera style, hitting all the ranges of her voice. I'm one that enjoys this singing style, as I fell in love with the Nightwish sound long ago.

After the short intro "Awakening", track 2 "Mysted by desire" hits us hard with a lead guitar (that's intermixed with keyboards) ripping through this fast and furious song, sure to have Nightwish fans excited! Track 6 "Escape" is also very fast-paced, as is the majority of track 4 "Mordor". There are some mid-paced songs that don't grab me like the faster ones however, mostly heard with track 3 "The ancient dance of Qetesh" and track 7 "Into paradise". But I've found the slower track 5 "Angelchild" to be a favorite, same with the unique track 10 "Secret garden", where a nice flute and Egyptian atmosphere is heard. I don't like the slow track 12 "In your mind" though, nor can I handle the overly aggressive vocals on track 11 "Scared for love", which believe it or not, are a bit too much for me.

I really like the first half of the CD, as the majority of the fast and better songs seem to fall in this section. But the 2nd half of the CD has too much of a variety for me and lacks a strong ending. This is surely recommended to those who love female opera vocals who don't care what style of metal the music is, but fans of the faster Nightwish sound will find only a portion of this will live up to their expectations. A very good debut, but held back a bit by being unfocused.




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