Released: 1998, Independent/Pulse Records
In the name of Satan, whoever first gave Dan Milka a microphone should be shot! The man is an absolute disaster on the stick. A rather harsh way to begin a review, I know, but holy shit he sucks! What’s worse is, it’s a true shame because the rest of the band is just oozing with talent. Imperial Rage is essentially the project of guitarist Hawk, who definitely falls into the classical school of Yngwie Malmsteen. I would love to give this album a higher mark, ‘cause I love power metal, and the songs that the band whip through are totally wicked, but *ugh* Milka’s vocals are horrid. I guess another disclaimer I should add is that I am not a personal fan of instrumental music. I’ll explain…
Fire in the Sky is a 13 song album, where 8 of the songs are instrumentals. Like I said, I don’t personally go for instrumentals, but I can appreciate talent when I hear it. With that in mind, I can say that this is one of the most talented indie bands I’ve ever heard (Hawk being particularly gifted) but 8 instrumentals is a bit much don’tcha think? So, basically, I absolve myself from reviewing the instrumental portion of the album. Moving on…
The full band songs (i.e.: with vocals) on the album (5 of ‘em for all you math geniuses out there) are, as I said, quite good. “Fire in the Sky” is the first, and one of the best, riding a heroic riff into the halls of Valhalla, raping the valkyries all the way. “Can’t Get Away” follows the high-speed chase in much the same way, forming a formidable one-two punch. Damn, I can just imagine hearing “Fire in the Sky” with a vocalist like Timo Kotipelto or Bruce Dickinson – true power metal glory!
Which brings me to the absolute crowning achievement of the album – “King’s Plight”. This song is true power-metal tour-de-force; I can’t describe how awesome it is. It is the centerpiece of the album and it deserves it! Check out the awesome guitar/keyboard solo from 2:56-5:00 – brilliant! I can’t say enough how talented this band is!
Two slower songs round out the vocal-ed part of the album (“Never Wanna Stay”, “Miles Away”), both being quality power-metal type ballads, which are, completely chopped at the knees by Milka’s horrid singing. I mean, “Miles Away” is completely ruined by the man. Well, whatever, this is a great band, that write great songs, and seeing as they have a new vocalist, I am really pumped for the new, forthcoming album (Hawk says it’ll be more progressive). Just remember: if you dig instrumentals, this album easily gets 4/5. Power-metal fans, do yourselves a favour and check out Imperial Rage at http://www.imperialrage.com