In a general sense, symphony and heavy metal are considered to be at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Personally, I attempt to avoid the former while encouraging the latter. But what happens when the two genres are combined? Well, if it is as well done as Tears Of Silence, the fourth full-length album from Imperia, then we just might all change our opinion! The members of the band, which first formed in 2004, hail from different European countries and the multinational influence can be felt throughout this album.
The album begins with “Silence is My Friend” featuring a lovely piano and acoustic guitar solo that swiftly morphs into a hard rocker that showcases the lower range of Helena Iren Michaelsen‘s voice. Track two, “Crossroads”, has a traditional Persian music feel before they add more instruments and more metal to the melody. Another softer start to track three, “Broken (When the Silence Cries)”, leads into a compelling beat and lyrics that will stick in your brain. The more gothic feel of track four, “Away”, is a bit more symphonic than metal. By the time you get to “The Vikingsong”, track eight, you aren’t terribly surprised to hear the lapping of waves against a Viking ship and pipe music that then gives way to a great metal song with a blazing guitar solo. Helena Iren Michaelsen utilizes powerful operatic vocals to accent the gentler track eleven, “Wings of Hope”. The emotional, gut-wrenching “Broken Hearts” closes out the album.
The orchestration on Tears of Silence is beautifully done. The additional instruments provide a fuller, richer sound to each song. With the rhythm section of drummer Steve Wolz and bass player Gerry Verstreken, the beat is relentless on the album. My main complaint is that the orchestral arrangements sometimes seem to overshadow guitarist Jan “Örkki” Yrlund, who can really shred when they turn him loose. If you are a fan of symphonic metal, this is a must-have for your collection. If this is a genre you have avoided up until now, I urge you to give this album a listen. It just might change your mind!