(04 May 2004) Ashes in the Hourglass is a six track 2003 self-produced album by the Dutch metal band IMP featuring lead vocals by Monica Janssen. The lineup is completed by Fred Koot (guitars), Wim van der Bij (guitars), Gerard Rad (bass) and Matthijs Krijnen (drums). The album is typical of metal edged projects--aggressive and rhythmic guitar riffs dominate and the lack of keyboard removes any possibility of symphonic treatment familiar to listeners of bands such as Epica, After Forever, Nightwish and Within Temptation.
The power within Monica's voice is evident not only in the
sung parts but in her own contribution to the grunting often
found in this genre and incorporated by Imp on this album. An occasional melody can be found in the choruses on several of the tracks but one should not have high expectations in that regard on this album. This is a metal project--it is clear from the opening introduction and through the ripping tracks "Successors" and "Demise Of Man" that follow.
Monica's powerful vocals continue to dominate the material and soar through "The last Descendant" and vary between her crystalline vocal textures and harsher grunts. Monica handles all of the vocal work on this album including all of the grunts. Says colleague Wim, "Her growls are deeper and lower than many male collegues." The musical trend continues into the dramatic concluding track
"Onslaught." We especially enjoyed the broad range of expression evident in Monica's vocal delivery.
A six part double foldout booklet accompanies the CD. There a full libretto and large scale photos of the band members is presented for the purchaser's enjoyment. The album features aggressive metal arrangements with vocals adding the lighter element to the sound. However, percussive riffs dominate the sound and the harder edge is certain to please metal enthusiasts worldwide. Orchestral keyboards would greatly broaden the band's sound and perhaps will be considered for their future projects. Additional photographs of the band, audio samples and mpeg video samples are available online. Visit the band's website for further details.