IMPERIA is an atmospheric metal band,was born in Netherlands in 2004. Their sound is especially evident by the distinguished voice of Helena Iren Michaelsen who sings in a variety of styles from deep emotional feelings to extreme operatic expressions and grunts.
IMPERIA’s music is full of vivacity, it is heavy, bombastic and orchestral, but it also contains elements of pure metal. The band is a true cross-border unit of musicians originating from different countries: Norway, Finland, Germany and Belgium.
The first release of IMPERIA was a cover-song “Lotus Eaters” for a Dead Can Dance tribute album which was released in the spring of 2004. In the summer of 2004 IMPERIA played their first gigs and also recorded their debut album “The Ancient Dance of Qetesh”, which was released in autumn of 2004.
In 2005 the band recorded another project of Helena called Angel. The album “A Woman’s Diary – Chapter I” was released by Black Lotus Records in the spring of 2005. Though the style of the album was very varied and less metal the band succeeded to demonstrate their versatility and musicianship.
Towards the end of 2005 IMPERIA had written enough new material for the second full length. The band teamed up with the German Massacre Records. The second IMPERIA album was titled as “Queen of Light” and it was released in the early 2007.
To support the album IMPERIA toured European festivals like TUSKA in Finland, Battle Of Metal in Germany and Magic Circle Festival II in Germany. Imperia was also featured on the MCM festival DVD with two live-tracks
In the autumn of 2010 IMPERIA started recording their third album titled as “Secret Passion”. The recordings took place in different studios and countries this time. “Secret Passion” was released in 2011 and it received excellent reviews in the metal press. The band played gigs in several countries and festivals like Metal Female Voices XI in Belgium and Magic Circle Festival in Helsinki.
In 2014 preparations of the next album started to take place. In April 2015 IMPERIA entered the Spacelab studio in Germany once more and recorded 13 tracks for the new album. The title “Tears Of Silence” was chosen as a title for the new album. This time band went for a more straight forward approach with the song material. The songs are straight epic metal songs combined with folk-elements, huge orchestrations and very varied. You can also hear a lot of acoustic instruments next to traditional metal this time. There are flutes and whistles, bagpipes, bozouki, acoustic guitars, violins and also a Russian choir on the album. Vocal-wise Helena goes beyond the usual and you can even hear heavy grunts on some songs. The album is full of emotions and musical styles, a true musical adventure!
Helena Iren Michaelsen – vocals
Jan Örkki Yrlund – guitars
Gerry Verstreken – bass
Steve Wolz – drums
ANGEL, the new band of Helena Iren Michaelsen, is a journey through different music styles combined with deep emotional lyrics.
Already a while Helena had the idea in her mind to make an album which would offer the listener a complete mix of different feelings and emotions and which would be very appealing no matter which music genre the listener prefers. It would be a kind of crossover album if you like, but not that metal as her previous bands (for ex. Trail Of Tears) or IMPERIA. Lyrics would have a strong meaning and they would be about a woman’s life and experiences in this world. The ideas, melodies and lyrics gathered slowly together until she felt now it is time to let the rest of the world hear them too.
In autumn of 2004 Helena was ready to start making contacts with different labels for ANGEL. As for the band, she teamed up with her experienced fellow musicians from IMPERIA: Jan “Örkki” Yrlund (ex- Lacrimosa, Danse Macabre), John Stam (ex- Mac 11), Steve Wolz (Bethlehem), Gerry Verstreken (ex- Manic Movement) and of course Audun Gronnestad, who took care of the orchestrations of the IMPERIA’s debut album. Not long after the Greek label Black Lotus Records was chosen, because the label understood the meaning of the band and the concept and furthermore this label gave the band a complete artistic freedom.
In December ANGEL was ready to hit the studio. There was enough material written and next to many of Helena’s songs – some of which she had written already in the age of twelve – also Jan and Audun took part in the songwriting and composed several new songs. As for the producers ANGEL chose Oliver Philipps and Christian “Moschus” Moos from the Space Lab Studio in Germany. In January ANGEL recorded a 4 track single titled “Don’t Wanna Run”. This single consists of acoustic and orchestral versions and special tracks from the upcoming album. The single was released through Black Lotus Records in April 2005.
In March 2005 ANGEL went over to Germany and started the album recordings. By the end of April the album was finished and mixed. The album got the title “A Woman’s Diary – Chapter I”. On the album you can hear Helena experimenting with her angelic voice more than ever. She leads the listener with her voice through different styles of music: from pop, rock, dance, ballads and heavier sounds to choirs and emotional slow acoustic passages. The lyrics deal with deeply touching personal experiences and emotions, which sometimes are disguised in a form of fairytale story or other metaphors. And sometimes the words are then again straight to the face and direct – if the emotion at hand requires that. But it is all about a woman – it is her diary. Welcome to the world of ANGEL…
Helena Iren Michaelsen – vocals and choirs
Jan “Örkki” Yrlund – guitar and programming
John Stam – guitar
Gerry Verstreken – bass
Steve Wolz – drums
Audun Gronnestad – orchestrations
Photographer: Jan Yrlund