Shade Empire
Poetry of the Ill-Minded


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pizzabakker5 USER (13 Reviews)
August 11th, 2017 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shade Empire craft an album next to its predecessor in power and next in crime.

Satan, cast down by God to Hell with the other Rebel Angels, sees close by him One next to himself in power and next in crime.

Beelzebub, Satan's lieutenant

And Satan addresses him like this:…


Any those of you who are familiar with the above excerpt from the 17th-century English poet John Milton’s Paradise Lost – and for bonus points, hears it recited in the late Ian Richardson’s voice – is either a man or woman with an acquired taste for classic diabolical art, or has heard Shade Empire’s latest teaser track Anti-Life Saviour, revealed some months prior to the release of Poetry of the Ill-Minded. Finland’s Shade Empire wields an interesting musical blend of how Dimmu Borgir would wish they’d sound like at this time and some of the melancholic dreariness Finland is known for. They were one of 2013’s biggest surprises, when seemingly out of nowhere they released the most expertly crafted symphonic black metal album of the last decade: Omega Arcane. Shade Empire’s task now for Poetry… is a daunting one – not to disappoint.

Lecter (welcome) introduces the listener to Poetry… with an unnerving, slow build-up; acoustic plucking slowly gives way to classical violin strikes, when finally the music swells into shredding and blast beats. Lecter sets the tone for the album in a moody manner. Alternating between growled and cleanly sung choruses, blast-beats and quiet solos, the song has a lot to offer, but fails to escape ‘mid-tempo’-range and relies heavily on atmosphere rather than ferocity.

Shade Empire did not write Poetry… to make friends, becomes all the more apparent while one hears Wanderer progress. The song relies on groove rather than the usual bombast and introduces the album’s most apparent gimmick: trumpets. The aforementioned instrument is utilized in an erratic manner, almost irritatingly at the front of the mix. The interplay between the drums and violins at the ending climax of the song is quite excellent, though, and get the listener back into the flow of the album. Drawn to the Water – the Path and Thy Scent are more typical Shade Empire tracks. Drawn to the Water – the Path reminds one of 2013’s Dawnless Days in its usage of galloping blast beat drums fueled in strength by synergetic orchestral arrangements. Thy Scent marries Shade’s trademark sound with the recurring trumpets and has lead singer Juha Harju experiment with high screeches rather than growls in the chorus, adding to the overall dramatic tension of the song.

Anti-Life Saviour is easily the highlight of the album. The opening combination of the recites of Paradise Lost and the swelling classical music resonate pure evil from the get-go. After moments of suspense in the midst of the poem, shredding guitars and pounding drums enter. While this poem’s fragment ends in its final climax, the track bursts into a ferocity that displays the unique characteristics of Shade Empire like no other song they’ve crafted before. Everything works in this track, from the epic anthem of a chorus to the excellent minutes-long bridge in the middle of the song at which it dies slowly to a whisper – very similar to the dying murmurs on 2013’s Nomad – only to return again with renewed rage for a final burst of sonic assault.

Map of Scars and Treasure (In Liquid Dreams of Mirror Universe) represent the last part of the album with an even heavier focus on atmosphere. Map of Scars displays one of Shade Empire’s most delicious choruses on the album with the seemingly effortless interplay between bass guitar, synths and blasting drums. Treasure… mirrors Lecter by closing the album as it started: with a mid-tempo track that relies heavily orchestra. The album’s closer sports a brooding atmosphere that makes the most effective use of the newly introduced trumpets.

Overall, the quality of Poetry… is undiminished in light of Omega Arcane. Poetry…’s half an hour shorter running time make the album feel more concise and focused than its predecessor. However, essential to the enjoyment of Poetry… are expectations, since Poetry of the Ill-Minded is a different kind of beast than Omega Arcane. Though the trademark sound of Shade Empire is undeniably present, Poetry… contains quite some experimentation and relies more on subtle groove and atmosphere than the highly bombastic thrill-ride that is Omega Arcane. Especially the introduction of trumpets, various new vocal styles and a lower overall tempo may deter fans of older material.

Poetry of the Ill-Minded received very mixed responses thus far with its recent release. This may be partially explained by the recent commotion caused by the forced departure of lead-singer Juha Harju from the band. Furthermore, the more experimenting nature of this album is not for everyone. However, personally I applaud Shade Empire for attempting to re-invigorate their sound, with overall successful results. Therefore, Shade Empire’s newest is a recommendation for those who like extreme metal with a little extra elan.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Pizzabakker5
August 11th 2017


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After eons of absence I felt like writing reviews once more.

kingdedethefifth
August 11th 2017


3812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Awesome review dude. Omega is a hard 5 for me, hope this comes close even.

Pizzabakker5
August 11th 2017


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ king: thanks man I hope you like it

pizzamachine
August 11th 2017


13476 Comments


That album cover though

kingdedethefifth
August 12th 2017


3812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

So question, is this available to stream anywhere or???

Pizzabakker5
August 12th 2017


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ pizza: no it's not their best.



@ king: it's on spotify and some tracks are on youtube, but not the entire thing.

kingdedethefifth
August 12th 2017


3812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Feature boyyyyy

05insomnium
August 12th 2017


11 Comments


I've spun this a few times since release but it just hasn't caught me the same way Omega Arcane has. That album is a masterpiece and parts of this are very disjointed in comparison. Maybe it will grow on me though.

ianblxdsoe
August 12th 2017


1298 Comments


ayy congrats on the feature

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

Hawks
August 12th 2017


50198 Comments


Gotta check this.

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Cryptoriana ? The Seductiveness of Decay

kingdedethefifth
August 12th 2017


3812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

They re-implement the saxophone off this record if that means anything.

pizzamachine
August 12th 2017


13476 Comments


Nice feature

XfingTheSullen
August 12th 2017


4057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hoooooly shit, a new album by these guys? I'm so gonna check this out. Omega Arcane was nothing short of spectacular.

kingdedethefifth
August 13th 2017


3812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Man there isn't nearly as big a hype train for this as Omega Arcane, I wonder what happened.

XfingTheSullen
August 13th 2017


4057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A lot of time has passed, that's what. Everyone's got their breaking point. I expect it to be the same with new scar symmetry too, they've been delaying their album something awful

Pizzabakker5
August 13th 2017


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh wow my re-emergence on Sputnik is crowned with a feature. I am truly flattered :-)



@ king, ian & pizzamachine (nice name btw): thanks!



@ insomnium: took me a while too, so maybe it'll grow on you too :-)



@ king, Xfing: yeah they had some serious momentum after Omega Arcane and apparently four years is too much of a temporal stretch to make that last. maybe their label could've made more of an effort though - I haven't seen this one being reviewed on many of the major platforms I'm used to seeing reviews of this kind of releases. Hence the urge to voice another opinion against some of the somewhat negative press the album's been receiving, on Angry Metal Guy for example (which is a great blog though)

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2017


1254 Comments


Really digging this record - never heard the band before but the production is really slick and not in an overdone way.

Pizzabakker5
August 15th 2017


63 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Mercury: then be sure to check out Omega Arcane as well!

AaroN911
August 16th 2017


1804 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard of these guys! A great first listen

XfingTheSullen
August 16th 2017


4057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ Then you're gonna love the shit outta Omega Arcane



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