Review | Johan Kihlberg’s Impera – Scandinavium Alive

Metalville Records

Swedish multi-instrumentalist Johan Kihlberg has always been a huge fan of KISS. He ran the Swedish fan club for a while and he published a book about the iconic rockers. He is familiar with the musicians of KISS so when the band came to Gothenburg to do a concert Johan managed to get his band project Impera the support slot. When the time came for the show the world wide pandemic delayed things but when KISS was able to do the concert sometime later Kihlberg was asked to open the show. Good timing because Kihlberg had just released his new Johan Kihlberg’s Impera studio record ‘Spirit Of Alchemy’.


With his band for this day consisting of guitarist Lars Chriss, singer Jonny Lindkvist, bass player Matt Vassfjord, drummer Magnus Ulfstedt and himself on rhythm guitar Kihlberg and company also had the opportunity cutting the show on tape for a CD/DVD release. A chance they took as you would do. But mind you, as support your playing time is normally between 30 to 45 minutes so only seven songs with the bulk coming from ‘Spirit Of Alchemy’ and a few from the 2018 album ‘Age Of Discovery’ could be played.


The music makes clear that a well-rehearsed outfit took the stage as the whole performance sounds pretty tight and heavy, in the vein of that ‘Spirit Of Alchemy’ album, a fine sounding melodic metal album with crunching guitar work by Chriss and outstanding singing by Lindkvist. The hard and heavy opener ,,Nothing Will Last’’ (with orchestral parts) kicks of the proceedings in a convincing matter. The drums are upbeat and kicking, the guitars are cemented in metal and Lindkvist just belts it out. Unfortunately my personal favourite of ‘Spirit Of Alchemy’ (the track ,,Read It And Wheep’’) is not featured in the short set but songs such as ,,In Heaven’’ and ,,When Souls Collide’’ make up for that in more ways than one. All in all, a short but excellent set.


On the CD you will find a studio-track entitled ,,Fighter’’, a song written for the soundtrack of a movie. Sorry to say that ,,Fighter’’ is not as strong as the material on ‘Spirit Of Alchemy’’. As the last studio record of Johan Kihlberg’s Impera is some two years old, I have good hope that this outfit will present some new work in the near future and until that is the case ‘Scandinavium Alive’ will fill the gap.

Release date: 27 October 2023



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