Empyrium‘s new album, twelve years after Weiland, which seemed to most people the last act of a short but intense story, is in its own way an event and, as such, is bound to make people discuss. Surely the great interest aroused by the first concert held by the band at the Wave Gotik Treffen in 2011 and by the undoubted success of the video and audio documents that have been drawn two years later, have been a decisive force in pushing Markus Stock and Thomas Helm to propose unreleased material after more than a decade. On the occasion of the review of the live album, I had already pointed out how much, as a hardened doomster, I preferred the free-roaming Empyrium of the beginning (A Wintersunset) compared to their more elegant folk guise of the last works; despite this (or perhaps because of this, paradoxically) the reasons for a certain widespread skepticism that is felt towards The Turn Of The Tides escape me, a work that, as it was easily predictable, connects again to the discourse prematurely interrupted, proving to be a return of great value. Of course, in the meantime many have successfully ventured into this fascinating terrain and some, probably, will have done so with better results than those shown by the German duo on this occasion but, frankly, if a record of this caliber came out every day, life would be much better. The Empyrium‘s folk, although often we insist on making of all a grass a bundle, has nothing to do with apocalyptic derivations; here you can hear loud and clear Markus’s gothic heritage and Thomas’s deep voice and operatic traits is deliberately full of melancholic and enveloping tones: another element, this one, that differentiates Empyrium‘s sound in the genre, where famous names and certainly unassailable for the quality of their works do not make their vocal skills their strong point, not being able in any way to compete for evocative capacity with the German singer. And if it’s true that the best track of the lot is Dead Winter Ways that, along with The Days Before The Fall we have already heard in the live Into The Pantheon, The Turn Of The Tides contains unreleased tracks of excellent quality as Saviour and, above all, a With The Current Into Grey that I would never get tired of listening, and other slightly complacent, although formally irreproachable, as the final title track and We Are Alone. In fact, the natural comparison for much of this album is with the less ethereal Dead Can Dance, incidentally those with Brendan Perry behind the microphone, as evidence of a dark and neoclassical vein often preponderant over the folk component. In summary, The Turn Of The Tides does not add or subtract anything to what Empyrium has already done in the past, proving to be simply a beautiful album, full of elegiac moments and others capable of moving those who do not expect at all costs the absolute perfection from these wonderful musicians.
2014 – Prophecy Productions
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