EMPYREAL - My Own Living Hell
December 17, 2019, a month ago
Lots of big, ambitious sounds here on this German band’s debut full-length, Empyreal delivering a very slick take on death-infused black, or maybe black-infused death, the band keeping things very digestible and polite no matter which way you eye it up. Opener “Meant To Cease” immediately makes me reference Century Black, and I’m the only human left on Earth to make that reference, but the crystal-clear, sanitized blasting just immediately brings me to the mid-’90s and that sub-label’s take on BM. It’s got some heart and soul, though, and despite me using words like “sanitized” I find myself fairly taken by it, as I do with the more melodic “An Ascent To Heaven,” which follows it up.
By this point, it’s clear this is black metal through and through, just with a slight death sound at times. Once we start to get a few songs deeper in, I’m starting to have a tough time navigating between them; every song has lots of parts and it’s all done well but the band struggles a bit to give each song its identity, which is also a problem the band as a whole has: how will I remember this after it’s over? I like the atmospherics and slow-build of the excellent “The Abyss (My Own Living Hell)”, however, this band really shining with that killer triumphant guitar solo as well; although Empyreal are great at putting their heads down and blasting, moments like these are even more fantastic. The partially acoustic instrumental “And So It Was Forlorn” is a gamble that pays off as well. Sadly, at 51 minutes, this album is far too long. It would have packed way more of a punch at 40, considering many of these songs just bleed into each other. Still, a promising debut.