Have you ever thought of how funny it is when, say, Japanese people try to sing American music? You see them butchering Lynyrd Skynard songs in every single movie where someone goes to Japan. You gotta give it to ’em though, they obviously have good taste in music! Can’t really create it themselves (with the exception of Church of Misery), but you know, good for them. It seems to have been the case for Americans trying mimic European black/death metal for many years now. You can always distinguish their continent in the first song or two. Is it a heritage thing? Do these Norwegian death metal bands really have the Viking blood of their ancestry fueling their riffs? Are these Swedes fed from their mothers tit a magical melodic metal milk? I don’t think so. Recently, you’ve seen bands emerge from the States that sound like they’re from Poland, pounding out songs of the likes of Vader and BRT (that’s a Blood Red Throne acronym for all you idiots). It seems to have taken a while, but it’s definitely happening and it’s refreshing.
Empyrean Throne‘s new release, entitled Demonseed is proof. The first track that I blasted was “Death March,” in search of a chugging song to break my neck to. I found it. Imagine the last battle of the apocalypse. Good against evil, where brutalized carcasses scatter a war torn landscape with red skies and blistering flames filling the horizon. An evil force so strong that the good turn against one another, murdering their own with a blackened rage supplied by the Antichrist himself. Empyrean Throne is the soundtrack that these warriors fight to, and they’re from Orange County………not somewhere in Scandinavia.
This album has the brutality and straight-forward killing power of any Kataklysm album with a dash of Dimmu Borgir. Theatrics are supplied by their member Kakophonix, who plays the cello and other strings with an obvious, creative talent (which I must say wasn’t too loud or drowned out on the recording, good volume). Not to mention a long piano intro to a 9 minute track. Their drummer, Dan “Danimals” Bruette, lives up to his name with solid, consistent feet and a quick wrist. No void spots where there should have been a fill and well chosen cymbals, so a good production on the drums. Both Bryan Schwarz and Mike Brennan accompany each other with a memorable guitar performance on both ends. Their riffs come equipped with emotions, adding more imagination to what vocalist Andrew Knudsen is laying the groundwork for. Knudsen delivers a very wide range of vocals on this album, to say the least. Burning highs to bleed the ears, lows that shake the ground, and everything in between. This dude practices, and had a great performance in the studio. Bassists always go unmentioned, but shouldn’t. Have you heard a band play live with no bassist? It has no fuckin’ balls. Add a bassist, it has huge fuckin balls. John Ashbaugh handles the bass business on Demonseed; keeping up with the speed of Danimals, but not forgetting to slow it to half-time on the right parts. Dude shreds like the guitarists and can probably beat both of them at a game of mercy.
I’m stoked to hear these indigenous bands laying it down hard like our inspiring-metal brethren from overseas. I like being shocked when I find out a band’s origin is the United States. Don’t get me wrong, American death metal is in a realm of its own and is a force to be reckoned with, just listen to the new Deeds of Flesh for science-sake. It’s just good to know we’re playing in each other’s stadiums with no way to distinguish who has the home-field advantage. Good fuckin’ tunes Empyrean Throne, you slay. Excited to see what the future holds.
I give DEMONSEED 4 out of 5 horns up for a solid release.
See for yourself below along with their lyric video for ‘A Crow’s Feast’!!!
–Written by Seth Detrick