Any of you looking for a “Children of Bodom” band that ISN’T Children of Bodom; Imperanon is what you’re looking for! I would personally consider Imperanon to be more of a mix of Children of Bodom and Wintersun (although the Wintersun part is subtle). Imperanon was a Finnish melodic death band (just like Children of Bodom and Wintersun) that existed for almost ten years, but only professionally released one album, which was under the Nuclear Blast label. Oh, I think I should mention that their lead guitarist is also one of the guitarists for…wait for it…WINTERSUN! Ok, so we have that guy, the keyboardist for Finntroll, and the vocalist from Norther; that in itself should be at least mostly promising of something at least better than average.
I mentioned before that these guys sound a lot like Children of Bodom. I think I should clarify that statement because there’s one COB aspect that you won’t find in Imperanon’s music, the blazing speed. If you listen to Children of Bodom, you’re already well aware that they’re capable of playing some pretty damn incredible tempos. Imperanon plays fast compared to the majority of the melodic death genre, but not fast enough to be compared to Wintersun and Children of Bodom, which are some of the fastest bands in the genre. One thing that Imperanon has that Children of Bodom doesn’t is supreme melody. Yes, I know that Children of Bodom is, in fact, melodic (why else would they be considered melodic death?), but Imperanon takes on a more power metal-influenced style, therefore causing the melodic elements to be more profound. I guess a simple way of describing Imperanon’s sound would be a much slower and melodic version of Children of Bodom.
The vocals aren’t super unique, but it is at least somewhat uncommon to hear high-pitched screams in melodic death. That aside, the vocals are fantastic and have a very crisp sound. I would like the screams to be a LITTLE stronger and powerful, but they’re perfectly fine how they are in the recording; they provide a solid element to the music without bringing it down in any way.
I’m not going to spend too much time covering every member, but I do want to talk about the keyboardist. The keyboards seem to take on a more up-front position rather than just providing the atmospheric background. This is what reminded me of Wintersun (as well as Children of Bodom, but more so of Wintersun); when you play the first track, Blade, the lead instrument is obviously the keyboard in the intro. The cool thing is that the lead riff that the keyboardist plays eventually fades into the guitarist playing it, and then back to the keyboardist. Being a somewhat experienced musician, I find it pretty obvious that being able to do this takes quite a bit of synchronization skill. As well as that, the whole band is so tight that I can’t find any faults at all. This tightness is actually pretty fucking incredible because (like Children of Bodom and Wintersun), Imperanon plays some really technical and complex stuff! To help cover any slip-ups, bands may play more drawn out chords or have a rhythm guitarist playing long chords to make the music sound a little mushier and less technical; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it’s needed and if it sounds good. But you rarely hear any of the members playing drawn-out stuff in Imperanon, it all sounds like pure melodic technicality.
The song structure is complex, the melodies are complex, the solos are BEYOND complex, and the overall musicality and creativity is fucking outstanding. I think that this album is more than deserving to be released under Nuclear Blast. I would recommend this to any fan of melodic metal that hasn’t heard it before because even though this sounds a lot like Children of Bodom, it’s still a one-of-a-kind record. I would rate Stained 18/20.