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Empyreal Vault - Empyreal Vault

Empyreal Vault
Empyreal Vault
by Jack Harding at 20 September 2019, 6:13 PM

With their very name, “Empyreal” meaning of the highest heavens and “Vault” a chamber typically hidden underground, EMPYREAL VAULT make clear their desire to juxtapose. Typical of the best Progressive Metal, complex shades are attempted, rather than clear cut colors. Songs that disregard stringent genre, contrasting shades of light and dark to create an experience, rather than just a simple song. These lofty ambitions are incredibly admirable, but in reaching for the stars, EMPYREAL VAULT have occasionally forgotten to check their surroundings.

There is some supreme songwriting talent on display on this record, but there is a distinct lack of depth to many of the more Progressive ideas. For example, whilst the main body of the song “Nameless And Evil” is a highly effective slice of Technical Death Metal, the intro leaves much to be desired. A repetitive lead line plods along, never sparking any interest, whilst guitars chug underneath. Stale and repetitive, a cliche of poor Deathcore mixed with an interesting, but poorly executed Progressive idea attempting to fuse styles. These ambitions towards the Progressive also present themselves in “Into The Forest” and “The Rain,” unoriginal and disconnected interlude tracks. Interest is initially piqued by the crescendo of “Into The Forest,” but the contrast in volume between this track and “Deathbringer,” which it leads into, leaves that songs opening riff feeling incredibly feeble. “The Rain” similarly struggles in regards to production, with an almost deafening sound effect of rain, that drowns out more interesting textures. The initial ideas here are, whilst slightly cliche, interesting, but they are never expanded upon fully. These interludes feel like a waste of time, and more melodic sections feel uncomfortable in the hands of these musicians. Not all attempts at Progressive elements fail however. Sections led by clean tapped bass and synth pads in “Deathbringer” work incredibly well. Unfortunately though, it must be mentioned that the intro of this song yet again, like “Nameless And Evil” fails to entertain with its melodic elements.

Performance wise this album should generally be applauded. All instruments are played near flawlessly, with stunning guitar work, and bass lines that never feel superfluous. Unfortunately, the drumming, whilst performed and mixed well, lacks any imagination whatsoever. This drummer is obsessed with his double kick pedals to the point of ridiculousness. Actively fighting against the songwriting, riffs are drained of life (“Astral Wound”) and moments where the composition needs to breathe are left constrained (“Obscurity And Silence”). The same beats are repeated until the point of tedium, and the clicky sound of the kick drums drowns out far too much detail. Unfortunately, this drummer has done nothing, but harm the strongest moments this record holds. Thankfully, enough of the stellar Technical Death Metal riff writing on display here is allowed to come through to justify recommending this record however. “Forgotten Titan” in particular is a behemoth of a song, that will be on my playlists for a long time.

EMPYREAL VAULT are an odd band to review. They are at their most excellent when they take things easy, but they obviously crave so much more. Unsatisfied with basic Tech Death, which they quite frankly knock out of the park, their aspirations for the world of Progressive Metal à la RIVERS OF NIHIL and OBSCURA are ultimately their downfall. I personally see two ways ahead for EMPYREAL VAULT: Devote yourself to Tech Death, or take the time to develop these more melodic, progressive elements. I hope they do the latter, because with Tech Death riffs as strong as these, EMPYREAL VAULT could make a name for themselves with the added dynamics a Progressive mindset brings.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Into The Forest
2. Deathbringer
3. Nameless And Evil
4. The Ritual
5. Astral Wound
6. Forgotten Titan
7. The Rain
8. Obscurity And Silence
9. I AM THE VOID
Lineup:
JORDY - Bass Guitar And Vocals
SILVER - Guitar
PJ - Drums
SYLVIAN - Guitar
Record Label: Great Dane Records
     


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