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Altaria - 2006 Fallen Empire



ARTIST: Altaria
ALBUM: Fallen Empire
LABEL: Metal Heaven
SERIAL: MHV00017
YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Taage Laiho - vocals * Marko Pukkila - bass * Tony Smedjebacka - drums * J-P Alanen - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Disciples * 02 Valley Of Rainbows * 03 Abyss Of Twilight * 04 Frozen Hearts * 05 Crucifix * 06 Showdown * 07 The Lion * 08 Outlaw Blood * 09 Chosen One *10 Access Denied * 11 The Dying Flame

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.altariamusic.com


Background
A few years back, Finnish band Altaria announced their arrival with a couple of good metal albums in 2003's 'Invitation' and 2004's impressive 'Divinity'. Back then, the band contained guitarist/keyboardist Jani Liimatainen, who has since moved on to Sonata Arctica. It seems that he has taken some of the creative energy with him, as Altaria's latest 'Fallen Empire' just falls agonizingly short of those prior efforts. Joining the fold is former Celesty six-stringer J-P Alanen, and though never reaching stellar heights, the album is a solid body of work without being overly spectacular.


The Songs
Despite this there are a couple of highlights. 'Abyss Of Twilight' stands head and shoulders above the masses. Energetic, and played with a sense of drama. 'Showdown' is good gritty stuff with guitars and organ work that are rough enough to give fans of Pretty Maids and Glory a brief thrill. 'The Lion' just makes the grade, even with the appearance of ex Dio Alumni Rowan Robertson as guest guitarist. 'Outlaw Blood' is slightly better, the energy is there, though the arrangement is generic. 'Chosen One' could be Second Heat or Alyson Avenue without the female vocals, again formulaic without a unique hook to make it interesting. 'What doesn't work? 'Valley Of Rainbows' is standard fare euro-metal that has as much excitement as a dead fish. 'Frozen Heart' is just plain ploddy, with an unadventurous drum-pattern that a drum machine could've simulated and made to sound better. The arrangement on 'Access Denied' which sees an acoustic intro and outtro is totally overwhelmed by melodic metal through the middle. You couldn't even call this a power ballad, as there is no build-up nor magical chorus! The closing bonus track 'The Dying Flame' allows the album to slide off the map in ignominy.. sounding like a workmanlike Pretty Maids by comparison.. unfortunately.


In Summary
You would have hoped that with each new release by a band, that their progress would be plotted and charted in an upwards direction. It is disappointing that this relatively new band has slipped back a tad after round three. Hopefully they can correct it, and inject some magic back into the mix. I guess the band should investigate and analyse what made 'Divinity' such a success and head back to the drawing board. As stated, a good solid album without ever giving the GDM thrill-o-meter a real workout.


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