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Empyreal Vault – Judgement

Empyreal Vault
by Alex Barnard at 13 October 2021, 10:18 PM

EMPYREAL VAULT is a French Technical Death Metal / Deathcore band whose main influences include FALLUJAH, WHITECHAPEL and RIVERS OF NIHIL. “Judgement” is the group’s second full-length album, released by Great Dane Records on June 25, 2021.

My God, this album is devastatingly heavy. Jordy Besse’s death growls are brutal, and his bass playing provides a very distinctive low-end rumble. Sylvain Octor-Perez and Tom Kaduk’s riffs are incendiary and their solos are majestic. Finally, Pierre Jean Paoli plays drums like a robot, switching between blast-beats and half-time heaviness at the drop of a hat.

One of the salient features of this album is the band’s use of symphonic elements. For example, the opening track, “Harbinger of Dismal Changes,” features an incredible piano solo before diving headfirst into a brief moment of brutality. “Call of Yggdrasil” is another prime example, as it not only makes use of strings, but also choir, evoking influences from bands like CRADLE OF FILTH and “To Mega Therion”-era CELTIC FROST. My only critique is that, at times, the use of these elements makes the mix a little busy on certain tracks, e.g. “Suffering.” It’s almost as if I know the elements are there, but I can't always distinguish them from the other parts of the song.

Other highlights from this album include the tracks “Transcendence,” which is so chock-full of bona-fide riffage my head was spinning from all the headbanging; “The Giant Tree,” in which Besse emits such a high-pitched pig squeal that I questioned whether or not a human actually made that sound; and “War,” which has some of my favourite riffing on the whole album.

Overall, the members of EMPYREAL VAULT have proven that they haven’t suffered from “sophomore album blues” as I like to call it, creating a work that is equal parts heavy and beautiful. My only suggestion for the band is this: you might be better served reserving the symphonic elements for moments in songs where you have the space to let them shine. You want the listener to be able to identify each instrument, and there are times when it is just too hard to do that because of the busyness of the mix. Other than that, this album is a definite must-listen!

Production: 7
Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Harbinger of Dismal Changes
2. Apocalypse
3. Suffering
4. War
5. The Judgement
6. The Giant Tree
7. Call of Yggdrasil
8. Transcendence
Jordy Besse – Bass, vocals
Pierre Jean Paoli – Drums
Sylvain Octor-Perez – Guitars
Tom Kaduk – Guitars
Record Label: Great Dane Records


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