Heaven or Hell

Label: AOR Heaven
Three similar bands: Strike/Lionville/Sapphire Eyes

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Love won’t let you
2. Heaven Or Hell
3. Road To Paradise
4. Vision In A Dream
5. Dreaming On
6. Save Me
7. Higher Than The Sky
8. Invincible
9. Time Is Up
10. Lost In Yesterday

Mika Brushane - drums, bass, keyboards, backing vocals

Dreamhunter (2016)
Beyond The Stars (2018)

Robbie LaBlanc - vocals
Robban Ernlund - vocals
Markku Kuikka - vocals
Stefano Lionetti - guitars
Mikey K Nilsson - guitars
Erkka Korhonen - guitars

Produced by Mika Brushane
Mixed by Erkka Korhonen
Mastered by Mika Jussila

Released 2020-10-30
Reviewed 2020-11-17

aor heaven

läs på svenska

Some years ago in 2016 I wrote some positive things about the album Dreamhunter, the debut album by the band that calls itself Imperium. It is the project of a man called Mika Brushane, a man I believe missed a funny anecdote by not calling his band/project Calidris Pugnax – perhaps he doesn’t speak Swedish so he might miss the funny thing about the name. I did miss the second album that came in 2018, this one is the third and it is called Heaven or Hell – not really an uncommon title for something in the heavy rock genre.

Musically it is rather similar to the previous album I reviewed, AOR with catchy choruses, strong melodies, great and polished production – about as surprising as a Ruff, or something like that. The use of several vocalists is a good thing as it adds some dynamics to the sound of the album, the three singers we hear on this album are all very good and suits the songs well. The album feels slightly long to me as the variation isn’t that big and it lacks surprises, but it presses the right buttons for the AOR fans.

I like this album, it is good. It has good songs, great melodies, strong vocalists and things that every AOR fan should enjoy. Of course, the lack of imagination will be a slight negative, another is the lack of a standout track – I don’t see that this album offers anything really memorable. But memorable isn’t really what the fans of the genre usually looks for, it is more familiarity and the sense that they have heard it before. Perhaps that is fine if you are a casual music fan but this one doesn’t really stand out if compared with other stuff released in the genre – still, it will probably get good reviews for its high-quality sound and solid, yet unspectacular, songwriting.

Are you a fan of the AOR genre? If you answer yes to that question then I think you should have a closer look at this album, it should appeal to you. But I am not sure it will have a very wide appeal, the songs are radio-friendly and so on, but not very memorable. I think the previous one I reviewed was better, but if you are a fan of the AOR genre this one will not disappoint.