Sunday, January 14, 2018

REVIEW : Johan Kihlberg's Impera --- Age Of Discovery (2018, AOR Heaven)

After three successful albums with IMPERA, it's time for Johan Kihlberg (drummer and founding member of IMPERA) to create his debut solo album. “I felt this would give me the opportunity to spread my wings a bit and work with some other people," Johan said about this first step.

"I grew up with bands like KISS, QUEEN, ABBA and THE BEATLES, who were not afraid to have a wide range of styles on their albums." I think that says it all about Johan Kihlberg's music influences. For this album, the first person that Johan approached was LION’S SHARE guitarist Lars Chriss, who is also a renowned producer and mixer.

For this record, except Johan and Lars, we find also an impressive list of guests such as Nigel Bailey (Bailey), Michael Sadler (Saga), Mick Devine (Seven) and Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) among others that each one gives his personal 'touch' to the final result.

"That's The Way That Life Goes" it's the opener track and it's the first highlight out of the new record. It kinda reminds me TREAT (Mats Leven era) and I just love this!! The guitars are heavy (just listen to the breathtaking solo here), there is a big groove in it and the chorus is huge! In "Fear", we find Mick Devine on lead vocals and it's again a great track all the way. The arrangements are just great and the late 80's melodic rock vibe aims this tune to the sky. Excellent! The emotional and moodier "Falling" is probably one of the best songs in "Age Of Discovery". Along with the amazing guitar work this song is pure gold. You have to listen to it by yourself to discover a really gem. 

"The End Of The Road" is a more straight forward rocker that includes a beautiful melody in it and an amazing chorus that will make you sing-a-long. Again Lars Chriss is the superstar here who steals the show again with his inspired riffs and solos. The pop-ish "Just A Conversation" is pleasant surprise while in "The Right Stuff" we have a more commercial melodic rocker that, to be honest, made me push the repeat button several times. Michael Sadler (Saga) delivers some incredible vocals in "Why Does She Care" and in "I Am I" we have another killer track. The album closes with the punchier tune of "It's A Revolution" that feature Nigel Bailey on vocals. 

Excellent just excellent album all the way!!! Besides labels Johan Kihlberg's Impera is an album that each and every serious rock fan should check out! Great arrangements, amazing performances by a bunch of some renewed musicians, melodies to die for, well-written songs and an out of this world guitar work are the ingredients of this brilliant record!!!! Top stuff!!!

Rating : 9,5/10

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