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Review: Johan Kihlberg's Impera - Spirit of Alchemy
Johan Kihlberg's Impera
Spirit of Alchemy

Label: Metalville Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 38:!4
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 16, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Spirit of Alchemy

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (2 Votes)

I can't find anything on Metal-Archives about Johan Kihlber's Impera, the band named after Swedish drummer Johan Kihlberg. He's apparently been around the block playing with some big names in Europe and has attracted some notable musicians to his band's fifth album, Spirit of Alchemy, including Nocturnal Rites singer Jonny Lindkvist, King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw and Europe bassist John Levén, among others. You might be tempted to assume this is a power metal project based on the name, cover art, guest list, etc. and that style is part of the overall sound. There are some cinematic keyboards, but their presence is not overused, and the music focuses on smooth, purposeful guitar work and clear, clean singing. Lindkvist does a nice job with his vocal lines and doesn't try to divert attention to himself with unnecessary screams or other vocal affectations, integrating with the songs well. There are some excellent solos, courtesy of Lion's Share guitarist Lars Chriss that have a George Lynch feel. Overall, the music on Spirit of Alchemy has a US vibe, not unlike early Dokken or Keel, bands whose early albums I like a lot. Songs like "Read it and Weep", "When Souls Collide" and "In Heaven" rock hard but are accessible at the same time. Don't look to Spirit of Alchemy if you only have ears for extreme genres, but if you enjoy smooth yet powerful metal, stuff you can sing along to, this is one to check out.

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