Imperial Rage - Fire In The Sky

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Pulse Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:21:00

Imperial Rage is a four-piece from USA who has just released their debut on Pulse Records. The CD has 13 tracks, nicely balanced between shredding instrumentals, in your face rockers, and two ballads. Just to set things straight, this is not prog metal, but basically it's neo-classical melodic metal with a few progressive elements.

The CD starts off with two instrumentals intros and track three is when the action begins. This is the title track and when they hit the first note you already know this guitarist is a shredder. The songs starts with fast guitar attack and fast drumming. The song maintains the speedy tempo through the whole track, and has some cool classical guitar solos and a good chorus. Next track "Can't Get Away" doesn't have the same tempo but nevertheless it is a good up-tempo rocker, ala early Axel Rudi Pell, with a good melody line and chorus. Guitarist Hawk is of course pulling off one sweeping solo after another. The following track is an instrumental and now the guitarist has full freedom to show what he's good for. This is a very good up-tempo neo-classical melody with monstrous guitar playing. This guy is all over the place. It's obvious guitarist and songwriter Hawk is influenced by the great classical composers as well as snapping up a thing or two by the major leading neo-classical guitarists of the 80s and 90s, as most of the material has a neo-classical feeling to it.

There are a few more instrumentals offered on the CD and they are all of high quality. The guitarist proves that he is able not just to shred but is in command of various techniques as well as creating good melodies. The last up-tempo song with vocals is "King's Plight," a nice melodic rocker in the tradition of Impellitteri featuring an excellent chorus and blistering fretwork. Besides the instrumentals and the rockier tracks there are two ballads on this disc. First out, "Never Wanna Stay," is a good standard ballad while the acoustic "Miles Away" features a good acoustic solo and a nice chorus. Neither of these tracks is great, but good, standard ballads. It seems to me that the vocalist, who does a good job on the up-tempo tracks, overexerts himself too much on the ballads and is at times a bit annoying. His voice clearly suits the rockier tracks better. Sound-wise the production is OK. It could have been better, but is still above average. The drum sound is a bit flat and there could have been more depth and power added to the instruments. Although the mix and balance between each instrument is good, the main focus are on the guitars and it's easy to neglect the other instruments.

This is without doubt a very competent band with good musicians, and, for a debut CD, this is very good. Fans of various guitar heroes will love this stuff as well as well as fans of bands like Impellitteri, Malmsteen and Axel Rudi Pell. This debut is filled with great instrumentals and good melodic rockers to entertain the listener. The CD needs a couple of spins before the songs really come to its right, but once they do, they rock! I'm very excited to see what Imperial Rage can come up with in the future, because it still seems like they have more up their sleeves.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site - ed.]

The Beginning of the End / Introspection / Fire In The Sky / Can't Get Away / Journey's End/ Never Wanna Stay / Frolic In The Wind / King's Plight / Invention#4 / Moza Viva / Euphoria / Miles Away / Motet

Orest 'Hawk' Dziatjk - guitars, bass, keyboards, and backing vocals
Dan Milka - vocals
Tim Kepp - backing vocals
Brad Robbins - keyboards
Ed Bethishou - keyboards
Jeff Kmiec - drums

Fire In The Sky (1998)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: January 1st 2005
Reviewer: Bjørnar Bevolden
Hits: 1045
Language: english


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