IMPERIA – Secret Passion
People may believe at this point that female gothic metal singers are a dime a dozen – but I still propose you can hear special qualities in the siren quality that stand apart from the pack. One of these voices is Helena Iren Michaelsen, who many may remember from her work in Trail Of Tears. "Secret Passion" is the third album for this Scandinavian quartet (split between Finland and Norway) and has the fullness you expect from metal while also developing a bombastic nature at times to bring movements to the highest of highs.
Edenbridge and Epica come to mind when I take in tracks like “Touch Of Your Hand” and “Let Down”, while the title track has a distinct Arabian feel with the main riff and orchestral parts. Helena’s melodies are very comforting and while she certainly can sing to the heavens, she manages to keep the majority of work in a range that her audience will be happy to sing along with her. Guitarist Jan Orkki Yrlund plays with an older axe skill mindset, servicing the song first in all departments much like a Michael Schenker or Gary Moore transplanting themselves into an epic/ gothic act. There are times where the rhythm section go for the easier audience friendly dramatic grooves you’ve come to know if you’ve followed this scene with any amount of intensity – making tracks like “Violence” and “Missing It All” predictable with their quiet to loud transitions.
Overall Imperia’s ability to create catchy and distinct songwriting should work well within both the gothic and metal camps. "Secret Passion" has the longevity to gain more audience share as they work these songs out in a live arena.