Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Armory - Empyrean Realms (2013)

When one thinks of power metal, very rarely do they think of American bands. I’m not saying that there aren’t any good ones; I’m just saying that Europe gets all of the credit. Every once in a while an American power metal band emerges that is impossible to resist. The irresistible band this time is Armory. They don’t redefine music or the genre whatsoever, but they’re just so damned good. On their second album “, Empyrean Realms,” they sound like true masters of the art. They have a much bigger and broader sound than that on “The Dawn of Enlightenment.” Right from looking at the album artwork, it’s evident that “Empyrean Realms” is one hell of a journey. Armory pulls out all of the stops on their new album and they never slow down.

“Eternal Mind” is an instant classic. It’s a great way to kick off the album and an excellent song to show off everyone’s talent in the band. “Dreamstate” showcases some very impressive guitar work and an epic chorus. “Beyond the Horizon” is a fantastic journey across the stars and it’s the album artwork in song form. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album for the simple fact that the world it creates is accessible and thought provoking. I really can’t praise this track enough. “Reflection Divine” picks up the speed and intensity a bit with the killer intro. Like the rest of the songs on this album, the guitar work is out of this world. “Horologium” is a good instrumental track that expands on the “spacey” sound the band was going for on this album. “Elements of Creation” is a good track that doesn’t do anything new from the rest of the album and it also gets drowned out by the stellar track after it. “Inner Sanctum” takes the band in a more progressive direction and is one of the best songs on “Empyrean Realms.” The eighth track, “Fate Seeker,” is my absolute favorite on the album. Everything comes together and creates a perfect package. The melody, the songwriting and the epic chorus all make the perfect recipe for a power metal song. The album closes with “Quest for the Fleece” which is a great way to end the album. The keyboard outro is absolutely beautiful and closes out “Empyrean Realms” on the highest note possible.

Bands don’t need to revolutionize a genre to be good. On “Empyrean Realms,” Armory takes influences from other bands and turns them into their own power metal concoction. Every instrument and every vocal line is played with complete mastery and precision. The six year gap between albums gave the band time to grow and unite into something special. Armory may have just opened the door for what American based power metal bands can do. As I’ve said before, “Empyrean Realms” might not be the most original album to come out but Armory adds enough of their own flair to make it worthwhile for power metal fans. “Empyrean Realms” is a fantastic space journey that absolutely cannot be missed. Listen to this now.


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