Rating:
8.1
Dark Empire - From Refuge To Ruin
27 March 2012


01. A Plague In The Throne Room
02. Dreaming In Vengeance
03. The Crimson Portrait
04. Dark Seeds Of Depravity
05. From Refuge To Ruin
06. Lest Ye Be Judged
07. What Men Call Hatred
08. Black Hearts Demise
09. The Cleansing Fires


Gutteral growls, rasp-growl hybrids and roughened up clean singing - definitely not what you would expect in a power metal album. Unless you are psychic. Or you've been following Dark Empire for a while.

Well, I am both, but that's irrelevant. Anyway, the first sentence alone should have probably gotten you prepared for a particularly aggressive sounding power metal disc. Which is a good thing in my book. Dunno about you, but I am definitely annoyed at quite a lot of the more established big names in power metal turning towards a hard rock sound. *accusing glare at Gamma Ray, Freedom Call, Avantasia etc.* Instead of slowing down the music like the bands mentioned above, Dark Empire plays what some would call a US version of power metal that's closer to the sub-genre's speed metal roots that is closer to thrash. Then they push the envelope and further crank up the anger while maintaining a strong sense of melody with some pretty good choruses, which is held together by the varied vocals and some pretty dark sounding riff work. And no, it doesn't end here as there's plenty of progression in the song writing with flashes of technicality on display. Speaking of technicality, I have to highlight the solos are worth it. Of course, there are a gazillion albums that feature solos, and I'm sure you can just go listen to a Dream Theater album for that, but it just works nicely here in terms of adding value to the listening experience.

Are we in front of a perfect album? God no! For one, the aggressive factor, being its main selling point is also what would turn potential fans away as there are bound to be some who are accustomed to the more conventional European power metal sound who would find it rather hard to get into "From Refuge To Ruin". The title track itself also felt like it meandered around a bit too much to my liking. Yet at the end of the day, I would happily recommend this album to Nevermore fans, or those with balls looking for some cheese-free melodic metal.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Dark Empire
Album: From Refuge To Ruin


 



Written on 17.06.2012 by
Ag Fox
Ag Fox loves listening to music but is far from being a prolific writer. This corner just shows how territorial he is.
More reviews by Ag Fox ››



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K†ulu - 17.06.2012 at 09:52  
Great review! Thanks for sharing! I think I have listened to their previous effort when Jeff recommended it, but I don't remember much. Will give this a try for sure.

As for Dream Theater solos... I don't they are all that good. Nevermore, whom you mentioned, would be a better band for that
Milena - 17.06.2012 at 11:17  
Thanks for the heads-up, dude!
Uldreth - 17.06.2012 at 11:30  
Based on this review this might be a power metal album I can enjoy. I guess I'll have to find it out.
basquetal - 17.06.2012 at 16:29  
Finally a review for this album! Great review and good album but not their best for sure.
The song from refuge to ruin is a pleasant music to hear.
Kamil - 17.06.2012 at 16:54  
Finally some review for propably the best US power metal album of the year.
Highly adviced not only for fans of Nevermore, but also fans of last Symphony X stuff.

Btw. guitar solos on FRTR are much better, than those from "Humanity Dethroned".
Zaphod - 17.06.2012 at 19:32  
Almost forgot about this one, thanks for reminding me.
By the way, since you mentioned Nevermore; Desultor's debut album Masters Of Hate is recommended for Nevermore fans.
PocketMetal - 17.06.2012 at 20:40  
Nice review , not my fave genre but this looks interesting .
Ag Fox - 17.06.2012 at 21:36  
Written by K†ulu on 17.06.2012 at 09:52

Great review! Thanks for sharing! I think I have listened to their previous effort when Jeff recommended it, but I don't remember much. Will give this a try for sure.

As for Dream Theater solos... I don't they are all that good. Nevermore, whom you mentioned, would be a better band for that
well... I mentioned Dream Theatre in a negative way, meaning that the solos are plentiful, but feels like they are just there rather than enhancing the listening experience. Thank you for reading the review and your compliments (=
Written by Uldreth on 17.06.2012 at 11:30

Based on this review this might be a power metal album I can enjoy. I guess I'll have to find it out.
please let me know!
Written by basquetal on 17.06.2012 at 16:29

Finally a review for this album! Great review and good album but not their best for sure.
The song from refuge to ruin is a pleasant music to hear.
well, I am not sure whether it is their best or not, because when I first heard Humanity Dethroned back then, I didn't really get the music as it was too extreme for me. But now that I "understand" them a bit more this time round, I felt like they should be reviewed to get some well deserved attention
Written by Kamil on 17.06.2012 at 16:54

Finally some review for propably the best US power metal album of the year.
Highly adviced not only for fans of Nevermore, but also fans of last Symphony X stuff.
yes, definitely better than Pharaoh for me. and I completely agree with Symphony X, but I only thought about them moments after hitting submit lol
Written by Zaphod on 17.06.2012 at 19:32

Almost forgot about this one, thanks for reminding me.
By the way, since you mentioned Nevermore; Desultor's debut album Masters Of Hate is recommended for Nevermore fans.
You're welcome. Desultor is pretty good indeed, but it feels more like a death metal album with just melodic clean vocals.
Written by PocketMetal on 17.06.2012 at 20:40

Nice review , not my fave genre but this looks interesting .
Thank you :3
Kamil - 18.06.2012 at 14:03  
Quote:
Written by Kamil on 17.06.2012 at 16:54

Finally some review for propably the best US power metal album of the year.
Highly adviced not only for fans of Nevermore, but also fans of last Symphony X stuff.
yes, definitely better than Pharaoh for me. and I completely agree with Symphony X, but I only thought about them moments after hitting submit lol

Well, I am thinking about Symphony X (especially "Iconoclast" and "The Odyssey") always, when I am listening FRTR

Btw. It's really amazing, that despite so huge progressive and thrash incfluences Dark Empire music still can be described as power metal on the first place
Moliti created awesome style and sound.
Angel_Lament - 18.06.2012 at 19:31  
Awesome, its been a long time since I tried something power-ish, thanks for the review..!!
ZGoten - 24.06.2012 at 01:43  
I'm sad to say that this has been my biggest disappointment of the year so far. The album is a good listen, but I just expected more, more and something different. This is hardly power metal anymore. They seem to have found a new sound, however, they still need to polish it.
Kamil - 09.09.2012 at 23:30  
After more and more sessions with this album I think, that their music is moving to more power/thrash metal like style.
Mr. Doctor - 26.02.2013 at 18:33  
It gets recognition (and vote) from me for being one of the few power metal albums I've heard in a long time with BALLS. Nice stuff, not something I'd listen usually though.

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