Imperanon Stained

A new band of very young — but in some cases highly trained — Finnish musicians, Imperanon have released a debut described as melodic death metal, but unqualified that’s a very misleading classification. The influence of groups like Children of Bodom is fairly obvious, but Imperanon seem to exude vibrant energy and have a few twists of their own to save themselves from being written off as clones. The playing on Stained is highly technical, often leaning towards Malmsteen-ish neo-classical shredding or even progressive metal more often than death, with a high-speed meshing of intricately balanced parts. The use of clean vocals on a couple of tracks seems a bit arbitrary, even jarring in the case of "Shadowsouls,” but they’re not poorly performed. Stained is highly melodic and not very evil, but Imperanon take you on one lively ride. (Nuclear Blast)