Altaria - The Fallen Empire
The Finnish band Altaria are back with their third offering and as usual it is accompanied with member changes. This time it is Jani Liimatainen that has left the ship to fully concentrate on his main band Sonata Arctica in the future. The long-time friend J-P Alanen from Celesty was chosen as his replacement. Apart from that nothing much has happened, I would call The Fallen Empire as the natural follower of Divinity that was released 2004.
My description of Altaria's sound is quite simplistic metal/hard rock in mid tempo with focus on the melodies. If you would blend melodic hard rock from the 80's and Finnish power metal in a mixer the outcome probably would be Altaria. As on the previous album they have a couple of songs that proves that they are really capable on what they do. Valley Of Rainbows is what I would call a small pop metal hit just as Unchain The Rain from Divinity was. One of the highlights of the album is also the fast-paced Crucifix, partly because the welcomed change of tempo and partly because the great neo-classical chorus it provides. Showdown has also grown on me for every listening session with its nice rythms and melodies.
Just as the case was on their previous records the quality level in the song writing department on this new offering differs a bit. A couple of tracks don't grab me at all and I actually have to concentrate to keep my focus on listening. Maybe they should take some extra time in the song writing process for the next album? This however is a minor defect since the lion part of the record is well-written melodic metal that for sure will satisfy fans of the genre.