IMPERA

Hard Rock • Sweden
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Impera are a melodic rock “supergroup” that consists of a guitar player who, seemingly effortlessly, delivers stunning solos and riffs of that classic, timeless grit you thought were killed off by grunge coupled with a pounding bass that will put you through the wall. Add blistering drumming that’s as solid as it is technically challenging and on top of all that, add a vocalist that sings circles around the competition. There’s no keyboard player, no nonsense, no fuzz - just rock and roll!

To twist things around even further, the band is the brainchild of drummer J.K Impera who acts as the commander in chief in this state of rock. ”I started the band four years ago, and originally ex-Mötley Crüe vocalist John Corabi was on board to handle vocal duties”, J.K. says. ”However, our schedules couldn’t be matched, so I opted for a good friend of mine, who also happens
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Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and Kev Rowland, lukretion for the updates

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IMPERA Discography

IMPERA albums / top albums

IMPERA Legacy Of Life album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Legacy Of Life
Hard Rock 2012
IMPERA Pieces of Eden album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Pieces of Eden
Hard Rock 2013
IMPERA Empire of Sin album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Empire of Sin
Hard Rock 2015
IMPERA Age of Discovery album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Age of Discovery
Hard Rock 2018
IMPERA Spirit of Alchemy album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Spirit of Alchemy
Hard Rock 2021

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IMPERA Reviews

IMPERA Spirit of Alchemy

Album · 2021 · Hard Rock
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lukretion
This one caught my attention for the incredible line-up of musicians involved. Johan Kihlberg, the mastermind behind the project, has worked in the music business for over thirty years and collaborated with members of Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Europe, Rainbow and Mötley Crüe. The other musicians have equally illustrious careers. The rhythm section is comprised of bassist John Levén (Europe) and drummer Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Therion and countless others). Lars Chriss from Lion’s Share is the man behind the guitar fireworks, while Jonny Lindkvist (Nocturnal Rites) takes care of the vocals.

Given the band’s pedigree it will not be a total surprise to hear that Spirit of Alchemy, Impera’s sixth album, inhabits a musical territory somewhere between the proto-power metal of Rainbow and Dio, and the hard rock of bands like Whitesnake. Muscles and melodies go hand in hand from start to finish on this album. And while it’s nothing really ground-breaking, it’s a trick that never fails to amuse.

The other undeniable strength of the album are the outstanding performances of all musicians involved. Jonny Lindkvist’s voice is still in great shape. His delivery is gritty but soaring and full of melody. The best tracks of the album are driven by his excellent vocal lines, like “Nothing Will Last” and “All About You”. Lars Chriss’s solos are sharp as a knife and fast like a thunderbolt, and complement well Kihlberg's solid riffing. What’s more, Chriss always tries to give the solos a modern twist, instead of relying on more traditional classicisms. This makes his playing sound fresh and original, definitely one of the highlights of the record. The tight rhythm section also deserves praise, especially Snowy Shaw’s fast and explosive drumming. And check out that groovy bass lick on “In Heaven”!

On the less positive side, the album falls a bit flat in the songwriting department. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent tracks that are both catchy and headbangable (“Nothing Will Last”, “All About You”, “No”). But there are also a lot of moments where the album feels a bit humdrum (the tracks in the middle of the record, between “When Souls Collide” and “Lost You Life to Rock ’n’ Roll”). The lack of variation in the songs’ tempo and structure does not help either. There are a couple of instances where Kihlberg brings to life his love for bombastic soundtrack music (“Nothing Will Last”, “Battle”), which injects a much needed dose of originality into the music. However, these episodes are few and far in between. My ears crave for more moments like these, where Kihlberg plays it a little bit less safe and tries to bring something new to the table.

Spirit of Alchemy is nevertheless a solid album that is fuelled by excellent performances by musicians from the elite of the international hard rock / AOR / melodic metal scenes. Its nine songs are pleasant rockers that may not break any new ground, but are rich in hooks and momentum and should definitely appeal to those readers who are on the more melodic side of metal.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

IMPERA Pieces of Eden

Album · 2013 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
Here we have the second album from this supergroup, who are comprised of Matti Alfonzetti (Jagged Edge, Scott Gorham, Road To Ruin, Red White & Blues), Tommy Denander (Toto, Paul Stanley, Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper), J.K. Impera (Bruce Kulick, Graham Bonnet, Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi), Mats Vassfjord (Vinnie Vincent, John Corabi, Grand Design). They say that they got together due to a shared love of Kiss, and that has carried through to some of their music, but it is more the polished Eighties version as opposed to the kick ass 70’s. But, this is a mighty fine melodic hard rock sound with some metallic elements. Apparently Tommy has now played on more than 2000 albums so it is no surprise that he knows what he is doing, while the others all have an incredible pedigree and it shows in how this all comes together, but it is very much a group album as opposed to an assortment of session musicians and they carry a nice bluesy edge which makes this album feel quite ‘real’ as opposed to too much saccharine.

I have to confess that the cover song threw me when I was playing this in the car the first time, as there is no mention of a cover in the press release, and I initially pegged it as Kiss, but somehow that didn’t seem right. A further flicking through the musical files in my head and I realised that “Goodbye” is from Paul Stanley’s debut solo album in 1978, which is probably my second favourite album of the four (Ace being first). But, this is one of the few occasions where they have taken the original and actually made it better, without doing anything dramatic with the arrangement. It is just that here it is sung better, played better, and produced better than Paul managed 35 years ago (now I feel really old – I bought all four when they came out and had the posters on my wall).

Class and finesse from start to finish, melodic hard rock rarely gets much better than this, although to get 5*’s it would have even more balls, but that is probably me just being picky.

IMPERA Legacy Of Life

Album · 2012 · Hard Rock
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Time Signature
Shoot me down...

Genre: hard rock

With Matt Alfonzetti on vocals and the enigmatic drummer JK Impera as the main man, Impera should pique the interest of any hard rock enthusiasts. Add to the mix Tommy Denander and Mats Vassfjord whose CVs are just mindblowing, and you have a supergroup of hard rock.

That looks good on paper, but does it sound good on your stereo?

Melody is the keyword on this album, but it is set against the backdrop of all things hard rock. Thus, 'Turn My Heart to Stone', while at heart (pun not intended) a melodic hard rocker, features both hard rocking grooves and dirty funky elements along the lines of Aerosmith (back when Aerosmith were actually a rock band and not just a cheesy power ballad band). 'Kiss of Death' is more of an AOR-influenced affair, although in the heavier end of the AOR gamut, and 'Break the Law' takes us back to groove-and-funk land (the band revisit this region of hard rock again in 'Show me the Money'). 'Shoot Me Down' is a more aggressive affair, featuring some metal riffage, but its main effect is that it is uplifting as hell (and one of the best track on the album, for my money), and 'Sunset Rider' as an awesome drive (think the Airwolf theme on steroids - lots of steroids) and is another favorite of mine. Another uplifting track is the all out metal rocker 'More than Meets the Eye' (awesomely groovy chorus, folks).

Given the band members' CVs, it goes without saying that we are dealing with impeccable musicianship. John Corabi was originally intended to take care of the vocal duties but when he was unable to do that, Matt Alfonzetti was brought into the fold, and I, for one, really like this choice. Alfonzetti has a unique voice which is, with its smooth and clear quality, is instantly recognizable. His vocals is definitely one of the albums top attractions.

If you like 80s hard rock but dislike the sleaze of 80s glam metal, then Impera's debut should be up your alley. It captures all tat is good about hard rock and glam metal, leaving behind the sleaze and the obnoxiousness.

In other words, "Legacy of Life" is a classy hard rock album! And, yes, it sounds good on the stereo.

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