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ALTARIA 'Divinity' Germusica (2004)


If you are a fan of melodic Metal music, and you can appreciate equally bands like Stratovarious and the AOR legends Asia, then this band called Altaria is what you really need to listen to.

Altaria is another fine product of the well-known Power Metal scene of Finland, from where arose acts like Nightwish, Stratovarious and Sonata Arctica. It was the year 2000 when two ex-Blindside musicians decided to form a new Melodic Metal band. There have been many different changes in the bandís line up since then, but I believe that it was right when Jani Liimatainen, guitarist of Sonata Arctica, decided to join the band, that the Finnish outfit managed to establish the sound and direction that they wanted to follow.

Altaria released two demos, "Sleeping Visions" and "Feed the Fire", that were both freely downloadable on the internet - quite a clever strategy, since they were received with great appreciation by the fans of Melodic Metal all over the world. The time for the release of the bandís debut album came in 2002 when a contract with GerMusica was signed and "Invitation" saw the light of day. Again many changes took place within the band, so many that it would take a whole day to put them down on paper. The result was that the band became a quartet in January 2004, and has remained one ever since.

That didnít change at all the bandís plans to release their second album, which I now hold in my hands, and is called "Divinity".

You really need to be in the right mood in order to appreciate this album. That does not mean that "Divinity" is difficult to digest - on the contrary. What Iím trying to say is that the first time I played "Divinity" I was not really impressed, and I consider myself very lucky for the fact that I decided to give it another go a few days later. This time I was more conscious over what I was listening to, and that was nice catchy riffs and keyboard melodies, both main characteristics of bands like Stratovarious and Asia. What helped a lot was the really good production, which was achieved at Tico Tico studios by Ahti Kortelainen (Sonata Arctica, Sentenced), and the mastering that was handled by Mika Jussila (Stratovarious).

What really makes a good album though are the songs, so letís focus on the music. The four musicians responsible for the creation of the twelve compositions of this album, have done quite a good job. It is guaranteed that you will enjoy every single song of this album, exactly because there has been an obvious effort from the band to create good music. Still I canít deny that I have my own special favourites which are the very melodic "Prophet of Pestilence", the best Melodic Metal composition that I have listened to in a long time called "Falling Again" and the Hard Rock anthem "Try to Remember".

What I also respect about Altaria is the fact that even though they are obviously influenced by megatherions such as Stratovarious, they do not allow themselves to become "clones" like so many others did before them, and so many others will do in the near future.

I believe that we need to appreciate and support bands that make efforts such as this, by investing in their music. Hey promoters! How about bringing this band to the UK?

Thereís no harm in listening to a quality band for a change.


Review by John Stefanis


© 2004 Germusica. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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