EMPYREAL – My Own Living Hell
The story of the hard-hitting German ensemble known as Empyreal is an interesting and inspiring one. Following the release of their “Psalms of Forlorn Hope” EP back in 2017, the band received heaps of well-deserved praise from fans and critics all over, and 2018 saw them make the trek to the awesome Norwegian extreme metal festival that is Inferno, which is quite remarkable given that they only had one release out at that point in time. In short, that speaks volumes about the talent and ambition of this skilled horde.
The full-length assault entitled “My Own Living Hell” showed up in my mailbox a few days ago and I must say that I am most grateful for owning a copy of this well-crafted opus that effortlessly blends black metal, death metal, and thrash metal to such great effect. With a strong emphasis on huge-sounding riffs and epic melodies, one could argue that these guys inhabit the more symphonic and orchestrated territory of aggressive underground metal, but the compositions are so wildly ferocious and riddled with nuances that it is difficult to classify or label the record as such. Again, it slivers and slides between majestic black metal with melodic flair to it, bombastic death metal, and sharply executed thrash metal. The lyrics seem rather personal and speak of longing, despair, betrayal, and inner darkness, but despite them being colorful subjects, they are not exactly new or unheard of when it comes to this type of music. The cool the thing is that the moods and flavors of the actual music are complemented by the words and vice versa, so in that sense, “My Own Living Hell” feels very complete and well-planned with respect to how things correspond to each other. Perhaps the finest and most memorable track is the Lovecraft-inspired “Demons of Despair”, which really showcases what Empyreal are capable of thanks to the surreal atmosphere that they evoke, its many layers, and the long line of wicked twists and turns that appear throughout. Another highlight is the melancholy “The Abyss (My Own Living Hell)”.
Technically speaking, this is an impressive affair, but personally, I would have preferred a less bright sound and instead opted for a warmer and darker one. Nevertheless, “My Own Living Hell” is a stellar piece of work and loaded with great songs that display depth, determination, and vigor. Support these dudes!