Morifade - Imaginarium

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Hammerheart
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:32:00

It is somewhat indicative of the current state of metal that many labels who previously had little to do with the more traditional forms of metal are now trying their hand through signing artists that previously would not have been considered suitable. Why do I say this? Well the latest example of this is Hammerheart Records who, up until now, have existed very much as a death and black metal label, but it seems that this has certainly changed with the release of Sweden's Morifade's second full-length album Imaginarium.

The band themselves describe their music as "epic, symphonic power metal with a touch of progressive elements" which upon listening to Imaginarium certainly seems apt. But what such a description does neglect to say is that the music Morifade play, while certainly not without some merit or talent, does tend to lack an immediate punch or that certain indefinable quality that would enable them to truly stand out. To their credit they do include elements such as acoustic guitars and choirs that embellish many of the songs and in addition to this they have found the ability to write some very catchy choruses throughout. These qualities are particularly apparent in "Revive For Awhile" with it's acoustic verses and subtle chorus, or what is for me the standout track "The Enemy Within." Such light and dark does give many of the songs dimensions beyond typical power metal, as does the tangible sense of melody that is embedded into each of the eleven songs on offer.

For me, however, it is when they attempt to diversify into the more epic tracks, such as the seven and a half-minute "Nevermore" or closer "Whispering Voices," that I find that some of the momentum is lost and attention starts to wane. That is not to say that such attempts at diversifying the sound are inherently bad, indeed in many reviews of Imaginarium this track is considered a highlight, but it just doesn't seem to work the same magic. When the band allow the guitars and keyboards, performed by former Tad Morose keysman Fredrik "Frippe" Eriksson, to duel and carry the songs forward, they are a far more interesting proposition. Vocalist Stefan Petersson has a versatile and somewhat unique voice, but his higher range may take some listeners a little time to come to terms with, whilst the production of Andy La Rocque is to the polished level one would expect with all of the elements of the band readily audible, though I would have liked the guitars to have a bit more bite to them.

Most of the reviews of Imaginarium I have read elsewhere seem to consider this somewhat of a masterpiece and speak about the album in glowing terms, but to me it is one of those albums that can easily be listened to and enjoyed but lacks longevity. That said, what is presented here shows that Morifade have the potential and talent to continue developing should they be willing to stretch themselves a bit further and focus their efforts on what they can obviously do so well.

Hammerheart is now Karmageddon Media

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

Lost Within A Shade / Escape / Rising Higher / Nevermore / The Enemy Within / Dark Images / In Martyria / Revive For A While / The Secrecy / Reborn / Whispering Voices

Stefan Petersson - vocals
Jesper Johansson - guitars
Henrik Weimedal - bass
Kim Arnell - drums

Across The Starlit Sky (1998)
Possession Of Power (1999)
Cast A Spell (2000)
Imaginarium (2002)
Domination (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin SE

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Peter Schulz
Artist website:
Hits: 836
Language: english


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