posted on 2/2007 By:
As most of our regular readers know, MetalReview.com prides itself in giving time and a careful ear to nearly everything that crosses our doorstep, including demos and self-released records from obscure bands many metalheads are unfamiliar with. The quality of these recordings can obviously stretch the gamut, but to be perfectly honest, the majority seem to fall somewhere between “undeveloped and muddled” to “respectable with obvious signs of promise”. Every once in a while, however, we’ll get something in the ol’ mailbox that goes beyond what we’ve come to expect from an unsigned band: something that actually manages to eclipse a good portion of the material provided to us by much more established bands in our scene. Empyreal Dusk is one of those recordings. And what makes this self-released, Viking-metal styled platter even more remarkable, is the fact that its sole architect is a 20yr old dude from Orange County, California - Anthony Prechtl.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve encountered a self-released record with as seamless a flow from song to song as Empyreal Dusk. Sixty minutes of rich, interesting, epic, Viking-styled heavy metal with nary a single musical stagnation or awkward point. And not only is this guy’s songwriting top-notch, his musicianship is nothing short of stellar as well. Each song boasts a hailstorm of gallant riffs, impeccably played, sweeping guitar leads, and tastefully layered, atmospheric keys - all of which bring to mind a solid mixture of Amon Amarth and the kingly Wintersun. But to keep his project from being pigeonholed to any one style or band, Anthony also throws a few other elements into the mix for good measure. For example, the proggy breakdown in “The Act of Natural Misconception”, and the brooding, gray gloom of the album’s slowest number, “Kingdom Call”, both seem more reminiscent of a band like Porcupine Tree, as opposed to either of the aforementioned Viking metal bands.
As far as vocals are concerned, the majority of this record features a solid Agalloch-ian styled blackened rasp delivery, mixed with an array of different clean vocal techniques. By and large, the layering and experimentation works well, especially when the rasped voice is blanketed immediately with the clean vocals. “Dragon’s Flight”, “The Giant Ymir”, and “Aspect of Nature” all feature excellent examples of this. Anthony’s natural, clean voice also works quite well when he doesn’t try to push his range too much, as is the case with “The Act of Natural Misconception”, and slower tunes such as “Alive”, and “Kingdom Call”. Unfortunately, the album suffers when Anthony really tests his range and heads closer to power metal waters. “Treason of the Fimbul Winter”, “Rain Upon a Shattered Sword”, and a portion of “The Giant Ymir” all feature slightly awkward moments where the vocals warble and just don’t seem to fit alongside the superb music, thus leading me to knock the musicianship score a bit.
Remember the name Anthony Prechtl, folks. We’re gonna be hearing some tremendous metal from this dude for many years to come. And If Empyreal Dusk is any indication of the caliber material we’re in store for, it’s gonna be quite an exciting ride. If you consider yourself a fan of Viking styled metal, I'd advise you to bust out that wolf-pelt wallet and give this guy your support, right now. Quite impressive.
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