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Imperial Age - Warrior Race

Imperial Age - CD Review
Warrior Race

Imperial Age - Warrior Race

CD Info
9 tracks
English lyrics

Imperial Age is Russian power metal, I guess. Least, that’s what I’m reading from other reviews. These days I’m not always sure what power metal is, it has many forms Well, this is a slightly different kind of power metal from what I generally associate with the term. And, it’s a pretty good release. For a variety of reasons. The band recently toured with Therion on a rather significant tour that took them throughout much of Western Europe and the British Isles. And, their association with Therion is pretty strong, including the track To Mega Therion on this release. To Mega Therion is one of the top tracks Therion has ever released (and they did so on multiple releases) and the Imperial Age does a commendable job with it here.

Interestingly enough, Warrior Race is a thematic work. Guitarist / vocalist Alexander “Aor” Osipov commented on the thematic background which is based on the legend of the ancient civilization Hyperborea: “Imperial Age is dedicated to the advanced ancient prehistoric civilizations such as Hyperborea, Lemuria and Atlantis. The album Warrior Race is about Hyperborea and its inhabitants.” The CD artwork was created by Jan Yrlund, someone not unfamiliar with artwork associated with this style of music. It depicts a military celebration in honor the civilization’s conquest of Atlantis. The argument here is that Hyperborea was a global civilization that left behind a strong legacy, including the Vedas and Vedic literature, as well as the Sanscrite language and what is now Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and the Norse tradition - Asatru and the Runes. Osipov went further with his discussion of the thematic structure of the release: “The idea is that our civilization is not the first one on the planet. According to a lot of evidence, we were preceded by a number of advances civilizations. The most recent one is known as Hyperborea. The one before is known as Atlantis. And before that - Lemuria. All of these civilizations were technically more advanced than ours is. They flew into space, had high technology etc. Hyperborea is where the Northern and Vedic traditions come from. Atlantis is where Western Esoterism, the Egyptian and Kaballistic traditions come from. These empires were global civilizations that encompassed the whole planet. You can read about them in many sacred scriptures of different peoples.” If you’re familiar with Therion, the Lemurian concept will be familiar to you, as will the general nature of this material.

In addition to the interesting background material, this work is notable for the breath of artists who participated in it’s production. Again, Osipov provides a little background: “The album Warrior Race was recorded with musicians from Dimmu Borgir (Daray on drums), Rhapsody (Fabio Lione on Vocals) and Arkona (Sergei Lazar on vocals and Vladimir Reshetnikov on bagpipes). The album was mixed and mastered by Sergei Lazar at his studio in Moscow.” Osipov informs me that the band are quite good friends with the members of Arkona which explains that association. Fabio Lione and Rhapsody are clearly members of the International Power Metal bands of the World Consortium which does somewhat explain that association.

The release here consists of some 9 tracks, however, I’ve seen other versions that have more. Not sure how to address that other than to say there appear to be some instrumental versions of tracks that appear here on other forms of the release. I could be wrong. There seem to be some 7 regular members of the band, including two female members as Osipov explains: “We have two ladies in our band - Jane Odintsova (keyboards, vocals) and Alexandra Sidorova (vocals). Jane is a founding member of the band and one of the two leaders, Alexandra is a hired gun.” I don’t know which is which although only one appears to play keys. I’m guessing Alexandra is the more full time vocalist and hired gun and she’s a very good one. I’d keep that gun around. The band has other vocalists, including Osipov and, when the mood strikes them, they do some very entertaining choral work, not something I’ve heard from many Russian bands although I suspect there are at least 500 I’m not real familiar with.

The release begins with Anthem of Valor. The guy in the Czarist military uniform is Osipov and this stirring anthem, with it’s soaring choral work backed up by some fine auxiliary music, and a fair share of blood, pretty much puts the release into perspective. I’m guessing this was done before Alexandra was brought on board but there’s enough lovely ladies, including Jane, I assume, on the keys, to keep you riveted to the screen. Not sure how the Spetsnaz guy with the AK relates to Hyperborea but I suspect in his condition, I’d choose the AK over the sword in most instances. I guess it’s a linkage thing of some sort but I don’t have the lyrics to that one so I can’t be sure.

The band does some really good video work which suggests that they might be interested in expanding that capability at some point, as well as looking into additional musical vehicles. More on that in a moment. But, a second solid vid comes with the title track. Here you get a shot of that killer CD cover I talked about earlier, and MUCH more of Alexandra. . . and Jane. Girl’s got pipes, eh? I should point out that on the actual release we include Lione and Brzozowski to enhance the sound but that sound sure ain’t bad on this video either.

Lyrics on the release seem to be pretty interesting, you can understand most of them which isn’t always the case with bands from Eastern Europe. However, I was only able to actually find printed lyrics from one track on the release on line and it’s from a pretty good track,Vanaheim. This is one of the more melodic tracks on the release although Imperial Age likes to go with a little epic on most of their tracks. With this one we get a more recognizable vocal contribution from Lione and it’s a truly lovely track. Lyrically we get:

Once a great race descended from the sky,
Took the fight, overcame its foes.
Built the Solar and Lunar empires,
Lost itself in the flames of war.

Our world is still alive, / Our memory revives,
Our homeland is and will be / Vanaheim!
Spirit of the Warrior Race, It will rise among their graves
And the ancient might of old / Shall arise, and its knowledge will unfold!

That lovely approach to the music continues on tracks like Time of Virginity and Turn the Sun Off although the later does evolve into a bit more of a rocker. Tracks like Death Guard, on the other hand, start and end with a solid beat.

One of the more interesting tracks is Battle Heart where we get an interesting intro on the pipes by Vladimir Reshetnikov (Arkona). I saw this guy live a couple times on the 70k ToM cruise and he’s really good with a variety of instruments. He’s a major focus on this track.

One more thing before concluding, Imperial Age is beginning work on a Metal Opera. The band has already landed Thomas Vikstrom from Therion and will announce additional vocalists over time. You can get information here. Given the interesting nature of this release I would expect the opera effort to be even better. Something to look forward to.

Imperial Age isn’t exactly a new band, they’ve been around in one form or another for a while. I found it interesting to note that they refer to themselves as a symphonic metal band on the indiegogo page above, that’s a term I find more appropriate for their type of music. But, whatever you call it, it’s more than worthwhile music to listen to and enjoy. I look forward to much more from the band, including in the not too distant future, a live performance somewhere.