Released: 2003, Metal Heaven
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
More Power Metal from Finland: Altaria. I have to admit it´s quite amazing and beyond my understanding that so many Power Metal bands are coming from this country nowadays. My fair guess is that it really has to have something to do with the success of both Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. Just prove it to me if I´m totally wrong with my conclusion, will ya?!
As a short info package for curious parties who have no idea what this Altaria's all about, the band was formed in the beginning of the year 2000 by the band´s bassist Marko Pukkila and drummer Tony Smedjebacka. Both dudes had played in a band called Blindside before, but as the guys got fed up with that band due to some slow musical progression inside the band, they decided to form a totally new band together. A couple of demos and some line-up hassles later, the band entered Sonic Pump Studios in September 2002 which is located here in Helsinki, Finland, with the following line-up to record their 1st ever full-length album for a German Metal Heaven label: Jouni Nikula (Requeim) on vocals, Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica) on guitar and keyboards, Emppu Vuorinen (Nightwish) on guitar, Marko Pukkila on bass and Tony Smedjebacka on drums. Some additional help for the backing vocal department was received from Marco Hietala (Nightwish, ex-Sinergy), Carsten Schulz (Evidence One, Domain), Janne Hurme (Human Temple), Michel Wik, Petri Aho and Pertti Ronkainen.
Unlike many other Power Metal troops these days trying to race with the speed of sound musically, Altaria has concentrated on creating extremely melodic and mellow songs that are pretty much based on very strong individual playing from each person involved. You can actually hear from everything that there´s a bunch of absolutely professional musicians behind INVITATION; at least, I´m weak enough to say where Altaria´s fragile part is located. The playing, the song arrangements, the vocals, etc. are all very well-made and I refuse to believe Altaria wouldn´t be one of the most potent and respected forces in the world of Power Metal some day. Their Power Metal also seem to be radio friendlier than many others, so I bet this album will be a relatively easier to be loved by the masses as compared to some other Power/Flower Metal releases.
I don´t feel an urgent need to analyze the songs on this excellent Power Metal effort song-by-song, but, rather would like to invite you to check them out yourself if both your heart and soul are deep and fully stuck in this type of music already. This is a very strong and convincing opening gambit from Altaria!