POWER PLAY MAGAZINE
Impera – Legacy Of Life
It’s becoming an increasingly rare event for something to impress me straight out of the box these days, but after just one listen to ‘Legacy Of Life’ the debut from Sweden’s Impera (not to be confused with similarly named Dutch gothic metaller’s Imperia) I found myself reaching for the replay button with an unseemly haste usually reserved for guaranteed crowd pleasers like Magnum! A four piece put together by drummer JK Impera about three years ago, there are a couple of names that will no doubt heighten anticipation levels before you’ve even heard a note – the first is journeyman guitarist Tommy Denander, the second is equally well travelled vocalist Matti Alfonzetti. I understand that vocal duties were originally gonna be handled by one time The Scream / Motley Crue man John Corabi until scheduling conflicts proved too much of an obstacle, but Alfonzetti has certainly made this his own. Co-writing most of the songs with Denander and co-producer Johan Kohlberg (the other co-producer and the guy responsible for a stellar mix is Lion’s Share man Lars Criss), between them they’ve given Impera a dynamic, classic hard rock feel yet overlaid it with melodies that wouldn’t feel out of place in any top notch AOR acts repertoire. In some respects it reminds me of Denander’s Prisoner project mixed in with touches of Giant, Whitesnake and Burning Rain and then finished off with a Journeyesque flourish. As I said earlier, it’s Alfonzetti’s bluesy vocal roar that commands the emotional high ground from the first notes of simmering opener ‘’Turn My Heart To Stone’ to the closing strains of ‘Dead End Street’, yet this is far from a one man show. Denander is uniformly excellent throughout, his pumping riffs and spiralling solo’s building an impressive platform for Alfonzetti; the tight rhythms of JK Impera and bassist Mats Vassfjord (Grand Design, Vinnie Vincent) underpinning the whole structure perfectly. I’ll readily admit that bluesy hard rock is probably what got me into this business in the first place, but rarely in recent years have I heard anything remotely new (as in a band that’s previously unproven) sound as fresh or invigorating as Impera.