Imperanon - Stained
While other countries have raised plenty of bands of various and sometimes questionable quality the past years, Finland has made itself known for breeding less bands but instead of a very high quality. Imperanon is not an exception from that rule.
This is a young band from Helsinki, Finland and they show example of very talanted musicianship and ability to write good, varied and diverse songs. The elements that usually are present when it comes to bands from the Land of the Thousand Lakes are also represented here, and that in extensive portions: battering double bass drums and guitar/keyboard harmonies that form the foundation that the rest is built on.
Not mentioning the similarities with their countrymen Children Of Bodom would be a cardinal fault in my task as a reviewer, because it's all there: the catchyness, the light growling vocals, the keyboard/guitar harmonies out of this world, and the way of manage to make the songs sound fresh and varied with changes in tempo and style and all these elements are strongly recognisable from Children Of Bodom. The whole soundpicture is also obviously inspired by the Bodom kids. It does not at all feel like a complete rip off, though, as there are short fragments and elements of other metal genres involved, ranging from traditional black metal to more power metal-esque parts.
The album kicks off with a handful of killers, and already after the first 20 seconds of keyboard/guitar/double bass drums you hear that this is good, and that feeling will show itself to last. The songs are distinct, tight and flows along in a good tempo in a very "smooth" and delightful way, much thanks to excellent production. The majority of the songs are above uptempo, with an abundance of great riffs, leads and harmonies and that's when Imperanon show themselves from their best side. A few slower parts here and there on the album does not work just as well. A female guest vocalist appear on the brilliant song Shadowsouls and she does a good job, even though her vocals sounds a bit unpolished and naked. That's both the strenght and weakness of them, as I get kind of a love/hate feeling towards them. I would have loved to hear more of those vocal duets between her and the male vocals.
On the minus side can be mentioned that the album in general is a bit short, and so are some of the songs that I would like to have seen extended, and that there is a section in the middle of the album where it falls back to a more average level with a few songs that are good, but are not rising above anything else. After that the amount of really outstanding riffs and leads are less for each song on the rest of the album and it loses just a tiny bit of its initial energy and brilliance. The material is good enough to overall stand the whole way out, though.
I still hold Children Of Bodom for the better of the two bands, because there is something about them that are so - perfect - but Imperanon are not far behind at all, and a very good alternative. Check them out if you are a fan of the style - because this is really good!