Label: AOR Heaven
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Imperium is the solo project of Mika Brushane, the drummer from Strike. On this album he’s responsible for the the songwriting and most of the instruments, only the guitars and vocals were provided by several talented musicians from the Finnish rock scene. Perhaps the most well-known of them is Mika’s bandmate from Strike, Pasi Rantanen. He’s also the vocalist of Thunderstone.
”Dream hunter” slips comfortably into the Finnish melodic rock/metal scene. There are some harder-edged songs with a bit of a power metal vibe (think Strato, Sonata but with an AOR overtone), some very 80’ies sounding AOR material (á la Brother Firetribe) and there’s no escaping the Finnish melancholia either. A couple of the songs wouldn’t sound out of place on a HIM album if they were downtuned and sung by Ville Valo.
I can say that I pretty much like every song on the album, some more than the others but there are certainly no fillers here. All three singers (Pasi Rantanen, Nisse Nordling and Markus Kuikka) do a fine job and the guest axemen ”play for the song”, as they say.
A couple of the songs I want to mention: ”Starlight” is my favourite song of the album, thanks to its’ glorious melodies and huge, anthemic chorus. The album’s big ballad ”80’s Love Song” is a curious one: Pasi Rantanen manages to sound convincing despite the fact that the song dances on the ”fine line between clever and stupid” (Spinal Tap). The song could have been written to be the theme song of a reality TV series, ”Dream Weddings” or something and uses every ballad cliche known to man in its’ lyrics. Yet… it’s kinda good and heartfelt!
I might add a word about the production - the album sounds great! No wonder, as studio wizards Erkka Korhonen and Mika Jussila were involved.
If you like Finnish melodic hard rock, it’s more than likely that you’ll enjoy this album too. Check it out!