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Armory - Empyrean Realms Award winner

Empyrean Realms
by Daniel Fox at 18 November 2013, 7:22 PM

Like its musical contrast in Death Metal, for me, Power Metal music has to have an interesting sound about it to really grab my attention; maybe include some symphonic tracks, incorporate growling, or show off a few progressive flourishes, and be full of catchy hooks. In the relatively unknown US band, ARMORY, who have been active since 2001, have only just finished their second album; "Empyrean Realms". This album is not strictly a cliché Power Metal piece, for it includes influences and sounds from all over the melodic metal spectrum. Much of the rhythmic arrangements reminds me strongly of the Matos and early Falaschi era of ANGRA, and in general reminds me of EDGUY, RHAPDOSY OF FIRE and HELLOWEEN, with strong melodic influences (especially in the excellent vocals) from IRON MAIDEN. This album is certainly worth a close, through-and-through listen.

The album kicks off with the soaring and huge, "Eternal Mind", which begins with a melody passage strongly reminiscent of STRATOVARIUS, and explodes into a blistering double-kick ride, overlaid with classic Power Metal screams; one of the motifs that always draws me to the genre. Vocally, I am hearing a lot of Bruce Dickinson influences. Another thing that I instantly fall in love with are the playoffs between the dual harmonized axe attack from the two expert guitarists and their masterful keyboardist; quite a nice FIREWIND touch. The rest of this song is simply pure majesty. "Beyond the Horizon" begins on a much heavier note, and Adam's glorious vocal ability is audibly boosted by the synth effects which, by the first minute, are spine-chillingly catchy. In fact, every melody in this song is catchy, and I can't get enough of it; the track was on repeat until I finally manage to move on.

"Horologium" is an epic instrumental track that does not even have a need for any vocals; it contains enough melo-rhythmic dynamics in its arrangement alone, and the instruments have their own voice. I particularly love the bass in this track it sounds identical to the sound used by ANGRA's Felipe Andreoli. "Inner Sanctum" marks a slight change in sound towards a more classic direction, at least in parts, similar to 80's Euro power Rock, but still contains modern metallic flourishes; Adam's vocals are just as powerful and wide-ranging as ever. Different again is "Fate Seeker", which contains noticeably more (enjoyably so) progressive flourishes in its rhythmic dynamics, but soon grows into an epic, grand state that explodes through the stratosphere in a ripping scream from the Viking-voiced Adam.

ARMORY is a band that proves it is always possible to breathe new life into an aging artform with new innovations and young(er) talent and, while not Scandinavian; they sure as hell could have fooled me, with their classically Swedish Power Metal sound that, in retrospect, still contains immortal American Power influences. My only complaint: I wanted a longer album. I like these 9 songs too much.

5 Star Rating

1. Eternal Mind
2. Dreamstate
3. Beyond the Horizon
4. Reflection Divine
5. Horologium
6. Elements of Creation
7. Inner Sanctum
8. Fate Seeker
9. Quest for the Fleece
Adam Kurland – Vocals
Joe Kurland – Guitars, Drums
Chad Fisher – Guitars
Thomas Preziosi – Bass
Peter Rutcho – Keyboards
Record Label: Metavania Music


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Edited 05 February 2023

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