Imperial Age, Control The Storm
‘The Dome’, London (England)
Review & Photography by Chris Galea
Imagine a ship returning victorious from battle with the ship’s crew celebrating its victory amongst its tribe in a night of merrymaking. Now imagine the ship is Imperial Age and the battles the band has faced include Covid, warfare involving their native Russia and legal bureaucracy. This was sort of the celebratory spirit of tonight’s gig, which also happened to be the last date of a mini UK tour.
Before the evening kicked off, I couldn’t help notice the wide demographics of the audience. Young, not-so-young, male, female, straight, not-straight… clearly the appeal of this band is quite widespread.
Control The Storm
England-based Control The Storm were supporting Imperial Age throughout this tour. The band members really seemed to be enjoying themselves at ‘The Dome’ and infected the crowd with that effervescent spirit.
Occasionally there were elements of Classic Rock but otherwise, musically speaking, Control The Storm were the same female-fronted-Power Metal I’ve heard many times before. Perhaps this band’s U.S.P. was the effort they put in delivering each song and consequentially I have to admit I enjoyed their set.
I’m sure that to some extent the band’s behind-the-scenes plight and determination will have endeared them to the audience, but I was eager to see if Imperial Age would back that up with a decent show. The tour was originally conceived about three years ago, so the crowd reacted incredulously and boisterously when the band finally stepped onto the stage to deliver the first number, ‘Windborn’.
The set included most of “New World”, the album released about a year earlier, and which I was listening to repeatedly in the days just before this gig. Imperial Age take the music of Nightwish as a prime template, with lots of genuinely catchy and bombastic songs, but occasionally the music goes off at a tangent and, for example, I even heard some Black Metal sonorities.
Jubilant songs with themes of victory found their way in the set, songs such as ‘Anthem of Valour’ and ‘Land Of The Free’. As frontman Alexander Osipov suggested, some songs they played were eerily prophetic – case in point being ‘Distant Shoes’ where the band sings “Far away we have to go with no choice of returning”.
All in all it was a very engaging performance. Imperial Age really know how to build a rapport with the audience and this innate skill is often what sets a great band apart from the rest. Jane Odintsova proved to have a very strong soprano voice and even Alexander sang quite well. In fact, all the band members delivered the goods – quite an achievement considering this line-up was essentially just a few days old, as Imperial Age’s regular bass player Belf got stuck in Germany and had to miss this tour but at the eleventh hour Tim Schaling stepped in to help.
The fact that the band had to use samples gave the music less of an organic feel but on the other hand it meant the unit had to be very tight. It was an enjoyable evening and I’m sure we’ll hear more from Imperial Age in the near future.
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