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Johan Kihlberg’s Impera - Age Of Discovery

Johan Kihlberg’s Impera - Age Of Discovery

Label : AOR Heaven | Archive under hardrock / aor

Release type: Full-length CD

Wim R. : Johan Kihlberg? Can't say I know him. Impera? Also not really familiar with. Apparently the band hails from Sweden and besides Kihlberg two guys I do know, Tommy Denander (guitar) and Matt Alfonzetti (vocals) are part of this outfit. Bass player Mats Vassfjord completes the band. The latter can also be heard on this album, called ‘Age Of Discovery’. Kihlberg himself is a founding member of Impera under the moniker of JK Impera, and in that role he wears some extravagant make up. After three albums Kihlberg decided to spread his own wings a little bit by recording this solo album. He also dropped the makeup. Strangely though he does add the Impera name to this solo effort. Anyway, Lion’s Share’s guitarist Lars Chriss was added as partner in crime, who also does the production together with Kihlberg.

Production wise this album sounds nice, a bit on the light side though, as it is quite keyboard driven (all played by Kihlberg). Furthermore Kihlberg selected some Swedish vocalists to sing on the album. The only non-Swedish vocals were done by Michael Sadler from Saga on the song ‘Why Does She Care’. Thankfully Chriss gives the album a rocking edge with some quite nice guitar and solo work. Listen for example to his quite nice solo on opening track ‘That’s The Way That Life Goes’ to get an idea. One of the hired vocalists is Goran Edman, an man who contributed his voice to countless projects and even popped up at Yngwie Malmsteen's side once. He handles the vocals on ‘Just A Conversation’. A poppy, somewhat lighter song on the album. There are more songs of this stature on this album that do not really pop out. Besides the aforementioned opening track, songs like ‘Fear’ and ‘Why Does She Care’ are the better songs though. All-in all, this album is not that bad. You could consider it a Impera ‘light’ album. In what way Kihlberg wants to bring something different than his original band puzzles me, and I for one miss the songwriting capabilities of Alfonzetti and Denande. On the bright side though I never heard vocalist Mick Devine of the band Seven before, but he is a really good singer. He and guitarist Chriss are the real highlights on ‘Age Of Discovery’.

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