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Imperium: Never Surrender
Imperium - Never Surrender Album Art

Imperium: Never Surrender

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR

No. Imperium is not the European professional wrestling trio currently signed to the WWE. Imperium is the solo project of Finnish drummer and songwriter Mika Brushane who has been performing for better than 30 years in various genres. The roots of his Imperium project date to 2012 when writing songs for his band Strike. The first Imperium album, Dreamhunter, appeared in 2016; Beyond The Stars in 2018; and Heaven Or Hell in 2020, all on the AOR Heaven. Now signed to Germany's Pride & Joy label, Brushane returns with his latest installment, Never Surrender.

Mika Brushane Click For Larger Image

Mika Brushane

While similar to past albums, the new one has some slight changes. The previous album had an abundance of various vocalists and players from the international musical theater. With Never Surrender, Brushane has condensed the participants. The vocalists are only two, but very well-known in the genre: Robbie LaBlanc (T3nors, Find Me, Blanc Faces, et as) and Michael Bormann (Silent Force, Jaded Heart, Bloodbound, et as). Guesting guitarists are Stefanno Lionette from Lionville, Mikey Nilsson (Alyson Avenue, Annette Olson, etc) and Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Night Ranger, et as). Brushane, again, wrote all the music and lyrics, then plays drums, keys, and bass.

Speaking to the album as a whole, and then a few songs, Brushane and Imperium deliver classic AOR-infused melodic hard rock. Essentially, Brushane has found his genre niche and is sticking with it. Lyrically, many songs have to do with love and relationships. Musically, the song arrangements are long on vocal harmony, song melody, rock rhythm and groove, keyboard embellishment, and terrific guitar solos. Brushane could have made his drumming the center piece, but he's more the consistent and competent team player where the song is the thing. Which is to say, considering the aforementioned elements properly composed, all the songs are terrific. My favorites were The Dream, Together Forever, Out Of This World, The One, and the title cut, Never Surrender which has arena anthem power (but they all do). All in all, Mika Brushane and Imperium's Never Surrender is another finely crafted and entertaining album of AOR melodic hard rock, perhaps his best to date. Quite recommended.

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The Take Away

Mika Brushane and Imperium's Never Surrender is another finely crafted and entertaining album of AOR melodic hard rock, perhaps his best to date. Quite recommended.

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