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   ALTARIA
Invitation
2003
Metal Heaven
http://www.altariamusic.com


rating: 3/5

1. Unicorn
2. History Of Times To Come
3. Ravenwing
4. Innocent
5. Wrath Of A Warchild
6. Kingdom Of The Night
7. Fire & Ice
8. House Of My Soul
9. Immortal Disorder
10. Here I Am
11. Emerald Eye
Having heard some nice things about Finnish Altaria, I now finally have their debut album called "Invitation" in my hands. The guitarists of the band are Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica) and Emppu Vuorinen (Nightwish) which might lead someone to think that this is also a keyboard driven power metal band. But that is not the case. Altaria plays more traditional heavy metal, even hardrockish at times, that leans on, yes, catchy melodies, but also heavy guitar riffs. And certainly Altaria cannot be considered as a storage for Sonata/Nightwish leftovers since Marko Pukkila (bass) and Tony Smedjebacka (drums) are the main songwriters for Altaria.

They have quite a few basic clichés here and there, so they're not exactly inventing anything drastically new here, but who the hell am I to complain when the final result is so damn good. It may take some time to get adjusted to Jouni Nikula's (Requiem) voice as its a little more theatrical than on your typical high pitched heavy metal singer, and also sounds a little untrained.

"Unicorn" and "History If Times to Come" are very enjoyable melodic heavy metal, but "Ravenwing" isn't all that memorable, it rather just passes by in the background. Sadly, same goes for "Innocent", even if it does have very nice guitar melodies. With "Wrath Of A Warchild" they fortunately return to the level of the first two compositions. "Kingdom Of The Night" is just ok, but "Fire & Ice" is again a splendid journey to the world of melodic metal that simply rolls forward all by it's own. "House Of My Soul", "Immortal Disorder" and "Here I Am" are journey to the 80's and the album ending ballad "Emerald Eye" is really beautiful and has very little in common with heavy metal. The production is crisp and clear and especially the nice guitar sound stands out. All in all this is a very good debut album which I can easily recommend to anyone interested in melodic heavy metal

submitted by Aleksi 28.07.2003

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