Morifade - _Imaginarium_
(Hammerheart, 2001)
by: Adam Lineker (6.5 out of 10)
Yet another Hammerheart power metal group, but to their credit Morifade boast some impressive skill, especially in the guitar solos and licks. Also they show understanding of harmonic construction in vocals and guitars and the vocalist has a quite distinctive voice that is very treble but very un-aggressive and so avoids sounding like Rob Halford. The guitar sound is dull and the keyboards seem slightly low in the mix, but the production is solid overall. The song structures have a progressive touch, not necessarily being too explorative but preventing boredom. In phrasing, syllables at the end of phrases are extended and usually harmonised. Although eventually predictable, it is an effective element of the Morifade sound. Lyrically this is nothing special and most of the song concepts are tried and tested ideas, but they get away with it because they do it quite well. However, the keyboard sound is a little unconvincing and although the bass line can give punch in places, this record seems uninspiring for the listener. Also Morifade can come across as very hammy indeed, particularly in opener "Lost Within a Shade". "Nevermore" is very pedestrian and drawn out and you glean the impression that a classical feel is probably aimed for but not quite pulled off. This power metal seems to lack the power, going for pomp instead. This is nothing to headbang to, but nevertheless this is still a pleasant listen. Never poor and mostly better than average but very lacking in its capacity to send shivers down the spine. The rhythm parts can be a little uninspiring and although it attempts an epic (see "In Martyria - A Gladiator Song"), the keyboard motif in this song reminds me more of some kids adventure cartoon, probably Pokemon. And it can be so hammy in the overblown polyphony of the vocal lines. The melodies and constructions become repetitive and betray the band entirely; the ultimate enemy of the power metaller is unoriginality. _Imaginarium_ isn't consistently imaginative enough to entirely avoid this.

(article published 9/1/2002)


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