Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shade Empire - Omega Arcane (2013)

It’s always common when a band releases an album that tops their previous one. It’s not very common for a band to release an album that totally destroys their previous one. What I’m talking about is the newest release from Finnish symphonic black metal masters Shade Empire. This album is “Omega Arcane” and it’s mind-blowing. When they dropped their first album “Sinthetic” back in 2004, they only were laying the foundation to the powerhouse they would build with “Omega Arcane.” “Sinthetic,” “Intoxicate O.S.,” and “Zero Nexus” are all excellent albums. They have their problems, but overall definitely worth a listen. For their newest release, they ditch the electronic sound for a more organic, symphonic one that works on so many levels. This is one epic album.

The album opens up with “Ruins,” “Dawnless Days” and “Until No Life Breeds.” The album could just be
these three songs and it would still be amazing. Their songwriting skills are night and day from previous efforts. “Ruins” is gorgeous, “Dawnless Days” is insanely epic and “Until No Life Breeds” is catchy as hell. The five year gap between albums really shows on this effort. Everything is much more thoughtout and  inspired. “Ash Statues” is slower than the other tracks on the album, but its beauty is jaw  dropping and awe inspiring. This is symphonic metal at its best. The mood and atmosphere it creates is unmatched, even by the rest of the album. As if the first four songs weren’t amazing enough, they keep upping the ante on the rest of the album. “Disembodiment” is the longest song they’ve ever written; it’s unforgettable and hands down the best track on the album. This song has everything all packed into a thirteen minute package. Never have they been more experimental and more sure of their abilities as a band. Even though “Disembodiment” is the coup de grĂ¢ce, the rest of the album is still strong and relentless. The title track, “Omega Arcane” is the second longest on the album, running at a little over twelve minutes. It’s not nearly as amazing as “Disembodiment,” but it’s still damn good. In terms of symphonic black metal, I would say this album blows away all the competition.

This year keeps getting better and better for metal. Some of the strongest albums in a long time have been released. “Omega Arcane” shows that Shade Empire has the skills to take over the entire genre. The atmosphere, emotion and power on this album are breathtaking. Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse couldn’t even dream of touching Shade Empire’s new opus. “Omega Arcane” really is that good. It’s an album I’ll have spinning in my car for a long time. There is no way to put this lightly, so here is my attempt: This album is fucking incredible. Listen to it now.


- Brian DuBois

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