Here is JK Impera, drummer and founder member of Impera. The band have a new album, ‘Empire Of Sin’, out now on Escape Records…
1. WHO’S THE BEST BAND YOU’VE EVER SEEN LIVE?
KISS without a doubt. The music and the show is magical.
2. ARE YOU AFRAID OF ANYTHING AND WHAT’S YOUR FEAR?
No, don’t think so.
Impera – Empire Of Sin
by Yngwieviking at 15 January 2015,
The guys involved in IMPERA are among the busiest Swedish players, especially the incredibly talented guitar player / composer / producer Mr. Tommy “Ubiquitous” Denander who’s own pedigree require the whole Metal Temple’s bandwith, beside the mastermind Johan Kihlberg on drums, the bass parts are played by Mats Vassfjord (SCAAR/GRAND DESIGN/LANEY’S LEGION)
Along with the explosive and spectacular, yet jaw-dropping lead Axeworks by Mr. T.Denander (“Don’t Stop”/”Lost Boy”), the other thrilling and most obvious parameter in the IMPERA’s musical triumph is the superb vocal performance by Matti Alfonzetti, a very energetic actor in the Swedish Metal Scene since the mid 80’s, he had sung in countless bands playing or related with almost every talented musician in the Swedish territory, from BAM BAM BOYS to TALISMAN to BOXER to ROAD II RUIN. He was also very successful with his international projects such as JAGGED EDGE or touring with Scott Gorham’s (THIN LIZZY/21 GUNS) solo band (WESTERN FRONT), later on, he also released a bunch of superb solo albums between 2000 and 2011 (“Ready” notably is a truly essential piece for every Melodic Rock fan collection), before (re)forming the band RED WHITE AND BLUE a related JAGGED EDGE’s Spin-off with English Mike Gray from SKIN. His collaboration with his buddy George Bravo (exERRATIC TALE) under the SKINTRADE moniker was also a success, a more Heavy sensation, who received high praise by both the audience and the medias…Their recent comeback album “Refueled” was published last year!
Except for the track “Darling” which is belong to the bluesy side of Rock, this new opus is set in an angrier mood, it offers a furious slab of Heavy riffage (“Fly Away”) with a darkest feel (the slight epic and TENish “End Of The World”), an unusual density in the thematic (“Hole In The Sky”) and a more metallic edge in perfect concordance with this new found songwriting method…Clearly, it’s their best album, and if you love your Swedish Hard Rock hot and tasty enhanced with a Melodic focus!
The sound design created by the band leader and drummer Johan Kihlberg, aka J.K. Impera, and mixed by Lars Chriss (ROAD II RUIN/LIONS’ SHARE) is also powerful and in harmony with this state of fact, sharp, rocking and in concordance with the strong temper of headbanging songs such as “The Beast Is Dead” or “Evil”.
The brilliant “Never Enough” is perhaps a little softer with a more AORish pace and its groovy riff quite similar to VAN HALEN, but with the stunning “Thunder in your heart” which is co-written with John Levén (EUROPE/exBRAZEN ABBOT/exLAST AUTUMN’S DREAM/exGLENN HUGHES) the Heaviness takes once again its prominency…”Light In The Sky” is an anthemic cut, a manifesto to the power of wilderness with many WHITESNAKE overtones, and another subtle and emotionnal solo spot by the other Swedish guitar hero!
IMPERA just signed with its third CD “Empire Of Sin” its referential act, musically 2015 starts pretty fast with an incredible bunch of sublime releases!
Melodic Rock Supergroup IMPERA will release their third album “Empire Of Sin” through Escape Music on January 23rd 2015. Produced by Johan Kihlberg, co-produced and mixed by Lars Chriss, mastered by Mike Lind and the cover artwork & booklet are design by Carl-André Beckston. The band consists of solid musicians who have earned their wings through hard work with an impressive number of world-class stars over the years, and in various constellations they have played with Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick from KISS, Brian Robertson from THIN LIZZY, John Levén from EUROPE (who guests on a song “Thunder In Your Heart” on this new album) and many more. Both of their debut album “Legacy Of Life” (2012) and the second one “Pieces Of Eden” (2013) were also released in Japan as a Japan version. This new album will be expected to be released as well.
IMPERA “Thunder In Your Heart”
Formed by a drummer who dreamt of a band that “sounded like a cross between Kiss, Whitesnake and Van Halen”, Impera drew rave reviews for Legacy Of Life in 2012. With vocalist Matti Alfonzetti on board for this successor from the beginning, the Swedes have once again delivered the goods. 8/10
Dave Ling / Classic Rock Magazine
www.uberrock.co.uk – Written by Dave Prince
Whenever I see the name Matt Alfonzetti (Jagged Edge, Red White and Blues) on anything – I know one thing – that what I am about to listen to will be of the highest quality, and ‘Empire Of Sin’ the third album from Impera is certainly no different. Throw into the mix the legendary Tommy Denander (Toto, Paul Stanley and Michael Jackson to name but a few) on guitar and just like a triple fried egg sarnie with chili sauce and chutney – you have the perfect collaboration that comes together and releases one hell of a great album.
You know the term ‘supergroup’ has been used all too easy recently especially with the emergence of McBusted – but Impera are the true definition of the term as this group is indeed Super! Playing a fine line of down ‘n ‘out RAWK – this band has it all.
‘The Beast Is Dead’ struts out of the opening gate and stamps the group mission statement all over our brains from the word go. Following this up with melodic chugger ‘Evil (Become A Believer)’ was a great idea, whilst the anthemic ‘Don’t Stop’ reminds everyone that Impera really do mean business.
‘Hole In The Sky’ with its eastern twang of an intro slides into a heavy riff that actually reminds me of Warrant ‘Dog Eat Dog’ era and becomes a mid paced bluesy rocker with a message to us all. ‘End Of’ with its chilled out intro is another rocker that highlights the superb vocals of Alfonzetti and the six string chops of Denander, but having said that each song on ‘Empire Of Sin’ is a shining example of how great rock albums can be in the here and now.
Swedish rock band IMPERA featuring four well known members from Sweden managed to track down the legendary ex KISS guitar player Vinnie Vincent to play a guest solo on their new album “Empire Of Sin” that is coming out January 23rd on Escape Music.
IMPERA are known for their love and ties to KISS, they recorded a cover of Paul Stanley’s solo album song “Goodbye” with Bob Kulick as special guest, band leader JK Impera used to run the Kiss Army in Sweden and has played with Bruce Kulick and Vinnie Vincent before, guitarist Tommy Denander plays on Paul Stanley’s last solo album “Live To Win” and has recorded and performed with Eric Singer, Bruce and Bob Kulick before, bassist Mats Vassfjord has also played with Vinnie Vincent before.
“The whole rock world is wondering where Vinnie is today so I was very happy when I got hold of him, and I was even more thrilled when he said yes to play a guest solo on our new Impera album but unfortunately in the end it all fell apart because it was not enough time so close to the release to make it happen which is ok, I´m happy he said yes and we wish him all the best, maybe on the next one says JK Impera”.
(Picture: Vinnie & JK recording demos march 96´)
Svenska hårdrocksbandet IMPERA är på gång med ett nytt album.
Plattan som fått titeln “Empire Of Sin” släpps den 23 januari via Escape Music.
1 THE BEAST IS DEAD 03:35
2 EVIL (BECOME A BELIEVER) 03:11
3 DON ́T STOP 04:31
4 HOLE IN THE SKY 04:48
5 END OF THE WORLD 05:29
6 THUNDER IN YOUR HEART 04:36
7 LIGHTS IN THE SKY 04:51
8 DARLING 05:27
9 LOST BOY 04:38
10 FLY AWAY 04:14
SWEDISH SUPERGROUP IMPERA TO RELEASE EMPIRE OF SIN ALBUM IN JANUARY; DETAILS REVEALED
Swedish hard rockers, Impera, will release their new album, Empire Of Sin, on January 23rd via Escape Music.
Impera are a melodic rock “supergroup” that consists of a guitar player who, seemingly effortlessly, delivers stunning solos and riffs of that classic, timeless grit you thought were killed off by grunge coupled with a pounding bass that will put you through the wall. Add blistering drumming that’s as solid as it is technically challenging and on top of all that, add a vocalist that sings circles around the competition.
The whole band consists of solid musicians who have earned their wings through hard work with an impressive number of world-class stars over the years. Their combined CV reads as a who’s who in today’s rock. In various constellations they have played with Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick from KISS, Brian Robertson from Thin LIzzy, John Levén from Europe (who guests on this new album) and many more. Guitarist Tommy Denander alone has played with almost everyone. His track record is jaw-dropping, having made solo albums with key members of Toto and performed on albums with Michael Jackson, Paul Stanley, Alice Cooper and Ricky Martin. His own project Radioactive has recorded some fine melodic rock songs.
“We all started to play because of KISS”, J.K states. We’re huge KISS fans and collectors and even good friends with them. KISS is the reason we discovered how great rock and roll is. And following their tradition, you can count on a stage show that will take your breath away, complete with fireworks, smoke, fire and all hell’s breaking loose! The amount of powder used in a single show would put the defence of a small European country to shame.”
When Legacy Of Life hit the streets back in October 2012 everyone was so excited with the fresh sound these four guys had injected into the melodic rock industry. The follow-up Pieces of Eden was a grand extension from this powerful foursome and so it leads us into 2015 and a new album Empire Of Sin will be unleashed upon us. This time Impera turn on some real feisty hard rock with songs like “The Beast Is Dead” and “Don’t Stop”. It’s nice to see John Levén (EUROPE) make a guest appearance on “Thunder In Your Heart”, a song he co-wrote and it’s a song that really hits the spot.
Impera have matured and honed their sound to perfection and this is their best outing yet.
“The Beast Is Dead”
“Evil (Become A Believer)”
“Hole In The Sky”
“End Of The World”
“Thunder In Your Heart”
“Lights In The Sky”
Classic Rock Magazine Review by Dave Ling.
Mats Vassfjord and J.K. Impera are special guests at the IMPERA special on Dist FM´s Open Mic Show airing Sunday 13th, Monday 14th and Wednesday 15th of october, the show starts at 21.00 all three days. Don´t miss it.
Pre order “Pieces Of Eden” now at:
- Beast Within
- These Chains
- All Alone
- Smalltown Blues
- Since You´ve Been Gone
- Easy Come
- You And I
- This Is War
- Fire And The Flame
Matti Alfonzetti – vocals (Jagged Edge, Scott Gorham, Skintrade, Road To Ruin, Red White & Blues)
Tommy Denander –guitar (Radioactive, Houston, Voices Of Rock)
J.K. Impera – drums (Bruce Kulick, Graham Bonnet, Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi, Brian Robertson)
Mats Vassfjord – bass (Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi, Scaar, Grand Design)
Johan “Impera” Kihlberg / Mixed and co-produced by: Lars Chriss / Mastered by: Mike Lind.
After an explosive 2012 Album “Legacy of Life” Impera are back with an even stronger album than before! When “Legacy of Life” hit the streets back in October 2012 everyone was so excited with this fresh sound these four guys had injected into the melodic rock industry, well just wait till you her “Pieces of Eden”, this is an album that will blow your mind.
The song Goodbye is a cover originally featured on KISS Paul Stanley 1978. Lars Chriss from Lion’s Share plays guest guitar on the song, as does Bob Kulick (all solos on the track).
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First IMPERA show ever! Väsby Rock Festival.
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We’re working hard on perfecting our music for our new Album!
New interview with J.K. at:
Article from the latest issue of Classic Rock:s AOR magazine.
Impera will attend Väsby Rock Festival August 3rd 2013 together with U.D.O, Corroded, H.e.a.t, Freak Kitchen among others.
More info at: www.vasbyrockfestival.se
Advert for the Legacy Of Life:
Legacy Of Life
by YngwieViking at 30 October 2012, 2:10 AM
Despite the absolute will of mastermind JK Impera and / or the record company to introduce and marketed IMPERA, as a real band and not a one-shot all-star super-group, we all know that they belong to a well known but endangered species classified under the brand of the numerous studio-project with an ephemeral destiny. The guys involved are among the busiest Swedish players, especially the incredibly talented guitar player / composer / producer Mr. Tommy “I’m Everywhere” Denander, so the chances to find them on tour one of those days , or to see another album with the same line-up, are very thin (even if I’ll definitely pray for it) and it’s a shame: Because I think it’s a terrific collection of songs and a first rate recommended album…And it’s finally a really impressive all-star super group…Yes it is .
The whole and complete pedigree of each musician involved, would have used up too much space here, so after some complaints, I will make it shorter. But if I can choose some great albums related with IMPERA’s members I will say: 2000’s PRISONER “Blind” (Z Records) & Alfonzetti “Ready” (MTM)
Stylistically the album could easily stand the analogy with those two almost classic perfect discs, AOR but with a quite sharper heavier edge and maybe a little less originality. But it can be compared to those, by bringing the same fluency, some obvious hooks and by providing many enlightened performances…This album is flawless from start to the finish but I think “Kiss Of Death”, “Sunset Rider” & “More Than Meets The Eye” are the best tracks. Matti Alfonzetti is giving his very best, singing perfectly, and it’s easy to see why he’s still considered among the best vocalists out of Sweden but also elsewhere. His voice is always rich warm and he shares with Steve Overland of FM, the same soulful rendition and also the “juicy mid-frequency” fluid intonation. His ex-colleague from ROAD TO RUIN, Lars Chriss (LIONS’ SHARE) is responsible for a dynamic production with an adequate punchy sound…With a bass / drums couple that is fully efficient, technically impeccable that is working perfectly in the same purpose: giving a strong backbone for guitar wiz Denander and his six string magic, in fact it’s the perfect playground to deliver some smoking , stunning and always welcome skillful lead-breaks.
While the IMPERA’s guys to show the world: How, without reinventing the wheel or breaking the rules / conventions, the true melodic Hard Rock should be done. “Legacy of Life” is a more than a cordially suggested purchase, because finally there is only one way to Rock.
IMPERA – Legacy Of Life
If you have taken an interest in melodic hard rock and specially the Scandivian kind, then at least a couple of the names in Impera should ring a bell. This lot hails from Sweden, but at least two of the members have international status.
The most well known member has to be guitarist Tommy Denander. Normally a session player, Denander has worked with countless of artists such as Toto and Paul Stanley and is involved in the new found career of Robin Beck and her hubby James Christian’s band House Of Lords. Lead singer Matti Alfonzetti should not need a big introduction, but for those who don’t know, he has been in bands such as Jagged Edge, Skintrade, his own Alfonzett project and has recently released an album with Red White & Blues. Bass player Mats Vassfjord is a member of both Grand Design and Laney’s Legion. Originally, though, the plan was to include former Mötley Crüe / Union singer John Corabi in this project, but due to schedules that wouldn’t mix, it didn’t work out and Alfonzetti was recruited instead. A very good choice, indeed.
But this band is the brainchild of drummer J.K. Impera (aka Johan Kihlberg). JK’s earlier activities doesn’t so much includes bands as such, more than some session work with people like Brian Robertson and Graham Bonnet, but more of a different kind. JK was the president of Kiss Army Sweden up until 1999 and I guess if you recognize his name, it’s probably from there…
It has taken JK almost 30 years to get his musical adventures started, but when he finally did, he did it with a bang. Apparently it took just one song, the album’s fantastic first single “Turn My Heart Into Stone”, with its catchy melody and Zep-riffing, to land him a record contract with English label Escape. But there’s more to this album than just that one song. “Kiss Of Death” (yes, that title has been used a million of times, but who cares!) goes into AOR territory, but with a 70′s kind of feel, “Break The Law” is an awesome melodic hard rocker that goes back to the 80′s, “Show Me The Money” has a magnificent groove and “Dead End Street” ends the album perfectly with a brilliant hook and some cool 80′s rock riffing. However, there are two tracks that stands out a bit here. The album’s only filler, in my book is “Shoot Me Down”, an up tempo rocker. It’s a good song, but unfortunately, it doesn’t stick like the rest. The other one is “Tell Me”, my favourite track on this CD. It has an infectious groove and a chorus that just won’t leave my brain. Not that I would want it to.
Production here was held by JK and Lars Chriss (Lion’s Share), who also mixed it. And the album sounds really good. When a band includes such amazing musicians, It’s really nice to be able to actually hear what they are doing. I’m also a fan of the mastering here. I love it when I can blast a CD real loud without my ears falling to pieces.
A great debut album, indeed. Musically it touches AOR territory at times, but this is pure melodic hard rock with a 70′s foundation, where the guitars speaks much louder than the keyboards and both bass and drums really pounds hard. In fact, I don’t think I have ever heard Tommy Denander, whose work mostly holds AOR, rock this hard before. Also, Anlfonzetti’s astonishing vocals isn’t at all AOR, but has more of a clean raspiness to it. All this makes for very melodic hard rock, but the cheese is nowhere to be found.
As I already stated, Impera’s record company signed them after hearing just one song and it turns out that they asked for the option for another album even before this album was finished. Isn’t it nice when quality wins? Because if I would describe this album in just one word, it would be quality!
Jon Wilmenius (8/10)
Guitarist Tommy Denander of Impera, whose members have played with a veritable who’s who of Hard Rock, including Paul Stanley (Kiss), Bruce Kullick (ex-Kiss), Vinnie Vincent (ex-Kiss, Vinnie Vincent Invasion), Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy) and Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), and who also feature Red White and Blues vocalist Matti Alfonzetti (ex Jagged Edge), talks about the band’s formation and their new album “Legacy of Life”, with two tracks from the new release.
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.
Interview in the last issue of Sweden Rock Magazine.
Buckle up and get ready. The band you always wanted to experience actually exists. The perfect amalgamation of everything that makes rock ‘n’ roll with the punches. You wanted the best, well you’ve got it. The whole package. A guitar player who, seemingly effortlessly, delivers stunning solos and riffs of that classic, timeless grit you thought were killed off by grunge. Pounding bass that will put you through the wall. Blistering drumming that’s as solid as it is technically challenging. And on top of all that, add a vocalist that sings circles around the competition. There’s no keyboard player, no nonsense, no fuzz – just rock and roll! To twist things around even further, the band is the brainchild of drummer J.K Impera who acts as the commander in chief in this state of rock.
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“Legacy Of Life” is the first attempt of this band assembled by a quartet of KISS fanatics – as the Press release states – but the music stands out as not that KISS-related. The talented musicians rounding this release have all been playing with known names in the music business, from Vinnie Vincent and TOTO to JAGGED EDGE and Graham Bonnet, and the expectations logically rise high in regards to what “Legacy Of Life” is all about. Crank it up and roll on with the music, ok?
It’s a nice album, it really is; the base is powerful Hard Rock with a slight look to the Scandinavian/German technical likes and a relevant glimpse of the American groovy legacy. The quartet performs in high level and you should not complain about low level satisfaction in this sector. The songs themselves have it all, too: fast rockers, sentimental moments, shake-your-booty teasers and a total of ten tracks that shall make you feel fine ‘bout being a rock’n’roller in the first place. There are no keyboards parts here but somehow the music gets melodic when the bands attempts so.
The vocals of Alfonzetti are close to perfection. His voice is warm where needed while he can sound Sunset-Boulevard raised if the songs demand so. The guitars are the ace on this disc, though: Denander lays down his (possibly) most inspiring parts in all this time he has become a sought after player and makes me back up and enjoy his signature performance. The rhythm section is another powerful moment here: close to being a metallic duo, the Vassfjord/Impera team reminds you of how heavyhittin’ Hard Rock shall sound in the bass/drums field without any hesitation. The combination of all the above leads to an album that shows no traces of innovation but surely guarantees good time with your friends or a six-pack company.
“Legacy Of Life” may be the first disc IMPERA puts out but sounds quite promising for a full band… if the band decides to move on. Fans of TALISMAN, ECLIPSE, (post-mid-80s) WHITESNAKE, (sleaze-less) SLAUGHTER and VINNIE VINCENT INVASION should track this album down for further entertainment.
Written by Grigoris Chronis Friday, 12 October 2012 09:41
Impera “Legacy of Life” Review
A super group consisting a of mix of Melodic Hard Rockers, Classic Rock licks? Okay I’ll bite on this one. Impera’s debut album “Legacy of Life” is another super charged record filled with enough anthems and hooks on first listen to leave an impact. The band is the birth of a project led by J.K Impera adding special vocals by one of today’s most promising Melodic rockers around in Sweden’s Matti Alfonzetti, and bringing the multifaceted skills of Tommy Denander to the forefront. The line up is enticing and so is the music featured here as influences bring shades of Joe Lynn Turner solo records but with added punch lines and edgier guitar tones and rhythms, good stuff indeed.
I have to be honest and positively lead praises of vocalist Matti Alfonzetti, if you haven’t checked him out yet, you are clearly missing out as this man is one of today’s most gifted talents and one who’s career in the scene should begin to take off. Impera offers the listener a double whammy of classic rock ridden filled hooks with all musicians lending a straight and narrow performance. The record kicks things into high gear with the lead track “Turn My Heart To Stone” a blunt chorus leads this tune into a guilty pleasure of melodic proportions.The ball keeps rolling in the same style with “Shoot Me Down” and “Sunset Rider”, plenty of guitar antics alongside Matti’s excellent pipes stamp down a scorching groove. A little Whitesnake inspired wails hint with the next top tune in “Tell Me”.
Although for some the music may seem redundant because the style and tempo remains true to the earlier songs from opening march, for a Hard Rock fan who enjoys plenty of hooks with tight chops there should be nothing here that is a let down. These guys involved in this project are all pros and their experience should shock no one, hence the quality of the songs on record. JK Impera does a bang up on drums as well as putting this group together and apart from his oddball make up in the press photos or onstage; the music is pretty damn solid too. As with everything the genre of Melodic Hard Rock and it’s releases always find an audience and if you’re in that mold don’t limit yourself and check these guys when the album comes out via Escape Music in October.
Ratings Denys 8/10
Written by Denys
CLASSIC ROCK 8 of 10
Named after JK Impera, a drummer who has played with Vinnie Vincent and more, Impera also feature the much-travelled duo of Matti Alfonzetti on vocals and guitarist Tommy Denander. This extremely fine debut from the Swedish four-piece is full of cultured, deeply hummable rock anthems and top quality musicianship.
 of 
You wanted the best, well you’ve got it. The whole package. A guitar player who, seemingly effortlessly, delivers stunning solos and riffs of that classic, timeless grit you thought were killed off by grunge. Pounding bass that will put you through the wall. Blistering drumming that’s as solid as it is technically challenging. And on top of all that, add a vocalist that sings circles around the competition. There’s no keyboard player, no nonsense, no fuzz – just rock and roll! To twist things around even further, the band is the brainchild of drummer J.K Impera who acts as the commander in chief in this state of rock.
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