80's, Easy-Listening
"Imperium offers us with this "Heaven or Hell" a nice AOR opus."
LYNOTT (30.11.2020)  
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Music Waves had alerted you two years ago at the release of "Beyond The Stars", the second album of Imperium, the Finnish band of multi-instrumentalist (and multi-styles) Mika Brushane. Beyond the fact that this opus deserved your attention, the music of the combo was well typified AOR despite a very warlike imagery and name. On this "Heaven Or Hell", Imperium doesn't change its style and always offers sweet and melodic tracks.

Brushane, in the previous opus, had taken the decision to choose a multitude of singers and guitarists of his acquaintance as his companions, offering them to intervene in turn from one piece to another. It is the same idea that guided him today on this "Heaven or Hell". Some of the past artists have left their place to others. Among the major replacements, let's note the one at the microphone of Dennis Ward, the ex-bassist of Pink Cream 69 now at Magnum, by Robbie LeBlanc (Blanc Faces and Find Me), Robban Ernlund (Treat) and Paolo Ribaldini (coached in Finland by Tarja in The Voice). Can also be added the arrival of two guitarists: Stefano Lionetti (Lionville) and Mikey K. Nilsonn (ex-Sapphire Eyes). Brushane, as for him, once again assumes his status as a handyman and took care of the drums, bass and keyboard, composed, wrote the lyrics and produced the object.

Imperium offers a classic 80's melodic hard rock in a beautiful AOR packaging. The melodies and harmonies of the guitars and vocals, the catchy rhythms and the groove of the compositions, the catchy refrains and crystal-clear guitar solos, are here the trademarks of the work. You won't be surprised to find, in the course of the ten tracks on offer, the bands to which the singers and guitarists belong, who are called in as reinforcements. Thus, you will notice, in the course of the listening, some reminiscences coming from the productions of Blanc Faces, Treat, Lionville and Find Me. Journey is also not far off, as Last Autumn's Dream or Dreamtide.

As all the tracks on "Heaven or Hell" are of high quality, it is difficult to stand out one piece more than another. However, let's bet that 'Love Won't Let You Go', where Lionetti sublimely handles the six-strings, 'Road To Paradise' where this same singer galvanizes a melody of the most promising, 'Dreaming On', which refers to Treat because of Ernlund's (his own frontman) influence or even 'Lost In Yesterday' very close to Pink Cream 69 should be in the first places in your playlist.

Thus, even if the compositions hardly show originality, this "Heaven or Hell" deserves your attention, especially if you like AOR movement. It's square and melodically luminous, but it also gives you the moral. And we need it in these tumultuous times.

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01. Love Won't Let You Go - 4:16
02. Heaven or Hell - 4:44
03. Road to paradise - 4:42
04. Vision in a dream - 5:04
05. Dreaming on - 4:15
06. Save me - 4:25
07. Higher than the sky - 4:20
08. Invincible - 4:24
09. Time is up - 4:34
10. Lost In Yesterday - 4:26

Mika Brushane: Basse / Claviers / Batterie / Choeurs
Erkka Korhonen: Guitares / Invité
Markku Kuikka: Chant / Invité
Mikey K. Nilsson: Guitares / Invité
Paolo Ribaldini: Chant / Invité
Robban Ernlund: Chant / Invité
Robbie LaBlanc: Chant / Invité
Samuli Federley: Guitares / Invité
Sini Heinilä: Invité / Choeurs
Stefano Lionetti: Guitares / Invité
Susanna Eronen: Invité / Choeurs
Toni Huovinen: Guitares / Invité
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PROGRESSIVE ROCK - Between pop, progressive rock and cinematographic atmospheres, "The Awakening" is a generous album that should allow Esthesis to make a name for itself.
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