Empyrium
Über den Sternen


4.0
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
February 28th, 2021 | 54 replies


Release Date: 02/26/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Empyrium's sixth release trades youth for maturity and the result is an emotional trip that conjures images from the Germans' entire discography.

One element that a lot of '90s underground metal bands nailed back in the day, was atmosphere. Especially the Peaceville Three along with some Norwegian black metal blended otherworldly textures with copious amounts of aggression and managed to come up with something grand. For those who haven't checked Empyrium yet, the aforementioned along with Cradle of Filth in the lyrics department were their biggest influences. Their first two albums feature their more metallic side, whereas their next two were mostly acoustic, in the vein of Ulver's Kveldssanger.

In a nutshell, Über den Sternen is a combination of their pre-comeback material with touches of the Dead Can Dance tendencies that can be found on The Turn of the Tides. As a result, the German act's sixth LP is a complete pastoral experience, with a strong pagan feeling throughout, and lyrical themes that are based on myths and ancient places.

On the one hand, you have acoustic tracks like "Moonrise" with a guitar melody that brought to my mind pre-Radiohead Anathema, and "In the Morning Mist" that exudes a sweet melancholy, even though it feels slightly underdeveloped. On the other hand, "A Lucid Tower Beckons On The Hills Afar" starts off with a grand My Dying Bride riff, before incorporating an acoustic passage. However, it's songs like "The Wild Swans" and the title track which make this one such an enjoyable listen. The former is probably the most majestic composition blending seamlessly Empyrium's two sides, while it also features a stunning melody at the 3-minute mark. The latter is the longest track of the album and has some of the best harsh vocals towards the end, as well as an excellent doom passage at the 2:40 mark which reminded me of Theatre of Tragedy's first two albums. "The Oaken Throne", with the melancholic cello melody at the beginning, will also appeal to fans of Theatre of Tragedy, due to its Aegis-like passage at the 4:30 mark, that naturally evolves into a cathartic outbreak.

One thing that this album seems to lack, is the magic of the Germans' first releases; something that just crept into some '90s recordings and cannot be reproduced even by those artists who achieved it back then. As a result, it doesn't reach the emotional heights of Songs of Moors and Misty Fields, so I wonder how it will hold up with repeated listens and as time passes. However, for now, I can't help but fall in love with all the qualities that Empyrium is known about, and can be found here in plethora.




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user ratings (60)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AOTY so far.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


15919 Comments


Nice writing, as always manosg. Gotta take a peek

Digging: Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined

Elynna
February 28th 2021


833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yesss Manos! Stellar review mate. I agree that it doesn't fully capture the magic of their first 2 records, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it strikes a fine balance between old and new Empyrium. I can understand that this band/album is not everyones cup of tea, but I do hope your review encourages more sputs to give them a chance. For me it's a slow burn and does require multiple listens to let it fully sink in. And when it does hit, it hits hard (especially that title track).

Digging: Niemi - Spiraalit (Spirals)

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Appreciate it, dude. Yeah, this is pretty good. Have you checked any of their previous stuff?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


9099 Comments


Album of the year indeed, the sound work is stellar, and I need to listen to everything else they have put out.

This album reminded me how it felt to listen to old Opeth (Still Life), Ulver and Borknagar for the first time.

Digging: Vision Video - Inked in Red

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed Elynna. I still discover things with every listen, which is awesome because I love '90s atmospheric metal so much.



Yes Voivod!

Muzz79
February 28th 2021


290 Comments


I will definitely check this out

Digging: Midnight Odyssey - Biolume Part 2 - The Golden Orb

Elynna
February 28th 2021


833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Appreciate it, dude. Yeah, this is pretty good. Have you checked any of their previous stuff?"



Not sure if it's directed to Notrap or me, but Empyrium is one of my favourite bands :] Songs of Moors and Misty Fields is a nostalgia trip, and Weiland/Where at Night the Wood Grouse plays are delightful pieces of melancholic music and beautiful dark folk gems.



TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


15919 Comments


I've probably listened to a couple of songs, but I honestly can't remember. It seems like it's time to fix that.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding Elynna. Songs of Moors and Misty Fields is incredible indeed, one of those albums that truly transport you to the '90s.



Sweet, hope you enjoy Notrap.

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


13974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So glad you reviewed this manosg, just finished recc'ing it in the contrib chat.

Digging: Esoctrilihum - Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man. I was actually considering reviewing another album, but that was until I checked this one. Hopefully, it holds up well.

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


13974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's an easy 4/5 - not sure about an AOTY claim, but if we don't see this in a staff/global top 50 ill be disappointed.

Azog
February 28th 2021


441 Comments


Not my cup of tea. Way too much sacharine.

ResidentNihilist
February 28th 2021


2050 Comments


Good review soggy man. May check if I can be bothered.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


24228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Between Nocte's rec and a manosg review how can I resist checking this. Will report back!

Digging: Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2021


12213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're in for a treat, Dewi. Tell us if you enjoyed it.

DarkNoctus
February 28th 2021


11459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i wish i was feeling this as much as you guys



songs of moors and misty fields is one of my favourite records of all time but man, this aint it

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
February 28th 2021


10936 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

a little surprised that i like this so much since it's kind of on the bombastic end of metal-meets-neofolk stuff but it's really really good

Mythodea
February 28th 2021


6002 Comments


While I've known Empyrium for a good ten years now, this is the first time I've enjoyed their harshest parts. ''Where at Night'' and ''Weiland'' have been my favourites by a long shot and the first two were okay I guess, but did nothing to me.

This has some meat, and I like what I've heard so far



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