Rating:
8.2
Empyrium - The Turn Of The Tides
18 July 2014


01. Saviour
02. Dead Winter Ways
03. In The Gutter Of This Spring
04. The Days Before The Fall
05. We Are Alone
06. With The Current Into Grey
07. The Turn Of The Tides


Have you ever waited at the shore and listened to the waves rolling in? There's something predictable in the familiarity of it, as you become accustomed to the sound of the movement of the water toward you and then away again. This is The Turn Of The Tides.

This music is composed to be cyclical. Recurrent. Replicating. Playing at the familiarity established through repetition of movement. It's designed to make the listener recognise and appreciate this pattern, and generate an appropriate atmosphere around the motive; it's a sound inspired by natural environs in which the waves of the sea double back on themselves, a natural effect inspiring a natural evolution of the band's style. The neoclassical swell to Empyrium's neofolk is no longer darkwave. Wave will suffice, as the instrumentation imitates tidal flow with the continual effect of an advancing and receding, "to-and-fro" projection in melodic and atmospheric progression. In this endeavour it is certainly successful.

The element of folk music to this record is reserved, and held onto and relinquished as highlighting at chosen moments, as well in regulated dispersion in the rhythms, rather than creating the underlying basis as a prevalent aspect of its sound. Much the same can be said of the use of elements of the band's much earlier style in the recollection of their dark folk metal roots, manifested most clearly in tremolo and the heavier press of metallic guitar tones. Remnants of black metal borrowings continue to inspire their song writing processes, but only minimally taking form and place within the music of The Turn Of The Tides. Any black metal tones are certainly residual, and largely swept up in the neoclassical waves and the crystal clarity of both the instrumentation and solemnly operatic vocal arrangements, used at their most expressive in moments such as the climactic fade-out to "In The Gutter Of This Spring."

The production serves its purpose well, the record resonating with power and an effectively filled reverb. The drumming and percussion applies the rhythms of folk music, and placed within the acoustic arrangements and vocal work, it's designed to give connection and voice to the album's movements. Even in the absence of drums in pieces such as the closing title track, the sense of rhythm is maintained and the album is finalised with a very real presentation of the sound that is such an inspirational motive behind what preceded it; waves.

In essence this release sees the duo of Stock and Helm make a welcome return from their lengthy studio silence. The music is flowing, atmospheric and, above all, a fresh continuation of the Empyrium sound. The Turn Of The Tides will be familiarly immersive to fans of their style, yet effectively differentiated from their repertoire.

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


Band profile: Empyrium
Album: The Turn Of The Tides


 



Written on 03.08.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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Mindheist - 03.08.2014 at 17:47  
Couldn't have said it better myself. I'd strongly recommend this for atmospheric black metal fans.
Dark†SymphonY - 04.08.2014 at 18:25  
Nicely written review. This is probably the most atmospheric and neoclassical album Empyrium has made. Glad you mentioned In The Gutter Of This Spring, one of the highlights of the album.
Erik M. - 04.08.2014 at 22:30  
Written by Dark†SymphonY on 04.08.2014 at 18:25

Nicely written review. This is probably the most atmospheric and neoclassical album Empyrium has made. Glad you mentioned In The Gutter Of This Spring, one of the highlights of the album.


Indeed, but I think all the songs are excellent, except for the title track which I like a bit less.

Spinning it now for the 6th time or so and it surely is a grower. This is definitely among my favourites of 2014.
Erik M. - 04.08.2014 at 22:41  
Okay, first of all: very well-written review. I agree with most of what you wrote. Note that I said "most", because I find it a bit odd you mention black metal and not mention doom metal. This surely is doom(y) even though it's not nearly as doomy as A Wintersunset... which I would call symphonic folk doom while this is more folky and neoclassical. Both are "summer" albums to me, having a very "warm" sound to them that I really enjoy.

Anyway, Stock and Helm once again did it. At this point they might be my favourite duo. Saw Stock with The Vision Bleak last year and he was awesome (just playing the guitar though). Then there's the highly consistent Noekk and of course Empyrium.

With the last sentence ("The Turn Of The Tides will be familiarly immersive to fans of their style, yet effectively differentiated from their repertoire.") you pretty much nailed it. Good job.
R'Vannith - 05.08.2014 at 06:03  
Thanks for the kind words guys, I appreciate it.
Written by Erik M. on 04.08.2014 at 22:41

Okay, first of all: very well-written review. I agree with most of what you wrote. Note that I said "most", because I find it a bit odd you mention black metal and not mention doom metal. This surely is doom(y) even though it's not nearly as doomy as A Wintersunset... which I would call symphonic folk doom while this is more folky and neoclassical. Both are "summer" albums to me, having a very "warm" sound to them that I really enjoy.

Anyway, Stock and Helm once again did it. At this point they might be my favourite duo. Saw Stock with The Vision Bleak last year and he was awesome (just playing the guitar though). Then there's the highly consistent Noekk and of course Empyrium.

With the last sentence ("The Turn Of The Tides will be familiarly immersive to fans of their style, yet effectively differentiated from their repertoire.") you pretty much nailed it. Good job.


Thanks as well Erik, and your observation is a fair one (the thing about the doom metal in this). While I didn't limit my mentioning of the metal elements specifically to black metal, I also didn't mention doom specifically, which is definitely an aspect to their sound. My impression of the album was, overall, not really one of doom, which is most likely the reason it didn't lead me to place an emphasis on the doom aspect. Primarily the metal elements in this are folk metal (and influenced partially by black metal), given their close association with neofolk instrumentation and song structures. Although that seems to be less the case on this album in particular, in comparison with their back-catalogue, as I mentioned in the review.
The Melting Snow - 05.08.2014 at 11:36  
No review has ever matched my thoughts so well

Great album, perfect review.
R'Vannith - 05.08.2014 at 11:47  
Written by The Melting Snow on 05.08.2014 at 11:36

No review has ever matched my thoughts so well

Great album, perfect review.


Woah geez, don't really know how to respond to that. Thanks a lot!!! I'm glad that I managed to get my point across about this great album.
Erik M. - 08.08.2014 at 23:07  
Written by R'Vannith on 05.08.2014 at 06:03

Thanks as well Erik, and your observation is a fair one (the thing about the doom metal in this). While I didn't limit my mentioning of the metal elements specifically to black metal, I also didn't mention doom specifically, which is definitely an aspect to their sound. My impression of the album was, overall, not really one of doom, which is most likely the reason it didn't lead me to place an emphasis on the doom aspect. Primarily the metal elements in this are folk metal (and influenced partially by black metal), given their close association with neofolk instrumentation and song structures. Although that seems to be less the case on this album in particular, in comparison with their back-catalogue, as I mentioned in the review.


Fair enough then. I agree that it's definitely more folky than doomy (so the opposite of A Wintersunset... I'd say), yet it still gave me a doomy vibe.

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