ALTARIA - Divinity / CD
Once in a while it happens that a new band approaches to the scene and immediately takes the hearts by the melodic metal world by storm. ALTARIA, with their 2003 debut album “Invitation” can be regarded as such. Founded by ex-BLINDSIDE members Marko Pukkila (bass) and Tony Smedjebacka (drums) in 2000 and after recording a couple of demos together with guitarist Jani Liimatainen (ex-SONATA ARCTICA), both media and fans saw themselves forced to give this band a massive push! Before the recordings of the debut album guitarist Emppu Vuorinen (Nightwish) also joined the band. After the very well received release of their debut album “Invitation”, ALTARIA, undoubtfully being a newcomer to the scene, had made it into the Finnish charts and had become the most selling band on their label. ALTARIA toured their home country Finland, where they immediately managed to establish themselves as one of the finest live acts. The “Invitation Pt.1” tour in September 2003 was the first that featured singer Taage Laiho (KILPI) in the line-up who now permanently had replaced Jouni Nikula on the mic. Being a live band and not a studio project only, this move opened the door for a 2nd tour in January 2004 while the recordings of their second album “Divinity” took place. The massive stage presence of the band though resulted in the friendly departure of 2nd guitarist Emppu Vuorinen who in December 2003 decided to concentrate on his work and upcoming, massive touring plans with his main band NIGHTWISH. On the second album, “Divinity” (2004), the band was in charge of the whole album production whereas the mix this time took place at Tico Tico Studios and was done by Ahti Kortelainen (SONATA ARCTICA, SENTENCED). The mastering - as on the debut CD - again was handled by Mika Jussila (STRATOVARIUS, AMORPHIS, APOCALYPTICA) at the legendary Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland. The result was a sparkling melodic metal album with a typical Scandinavian approach to catchy hooks, powerful guitar riffs, controlled but striking heavyness & power, remarkable melodies and a versatile instrumentation. The limited edition first pressing of the CD was released as a digi-pack including one bonus song; a cover version of ACCEPT’s metal hymn “Balls To The Wall” on which guest vocalist Andy Engberg (LIONS SHARE/ THERION / 220 VOLT) joined forces with Taage Laiho for a blistering duet. After two successful studio albums, some touring and line-up changes, ALTARIA released “The Fallen Empire” in 2006. The album orientated a lot more on the roots of the band, and compared to the predecessor „Divinity“ offered a slightly harder edge. A move going along with this development was the addition of Swedish producer Jonas Kjellgren – famous for his work with bands such as CENTINEX, STEEL ATTACK und CARNAL FORGE. This move also can be regarded as a big step into the right direction. Most parts of the new album were recorded in Kjellgren’s Black Lodge Studios in Sweden. Former DIO guitarist Rowan Robertson and SONATA ARCTICA keyboard player Henrik Klingenberg are guests on the album. To promote “The Fallen Empire” the band toured Europe as support to DORO & SONATA ARCTICA, followed by a tour in Finland. After the release of The Fallen Empire and the successful tour around Europe the band parted ways with bass player Marko Pukkila and vocalist Taage Laiho. ALTARIA replaced Marko and Taage with bassist/vocalist Marco Luponero and continued as four piece band. In 2009 the new lineup released a new album “Unholy”. After the release of the album the band decided to take a break and only played a few shows and festivals to support the new album. In 2016 ALTARIA decided to call it quits and played a farewell show in Finland at the legendary Nummirock Festival. What makes that show so special is that the show included performances of all former ALTARIA members. Now in 2019, after being buried for a few years and over 1,2, MILLION views of their song “Unchain The Rain” on Youtube, ALTARIA is back from the grave with their legendary and most successful 2006 lineup! ALTARIA has signed a worldwide record deal with Reaper Entertainment Europe. The first release will be a re-release of ALTARIA´s second album DIVINITY. It will be remastered and released as a limited edition vinyl and CD. The CD will also include two bonus tracks. In 2020 ALTARIA will celebrate 20 years since the start of the band with a brand new album! Stay tuned!
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