Empyr are a weird bunch. Apparently, it’s a band composed of musicians with different background styles, ranging from alternative rock to some technical metal stuff, and it shows its multiple roots on almost every occasion. While most of the songs are based on the all too mainstream formula of verse-chorus, verse-chorus, bridge, chorus (then repeat), the actual compositions vary in such a way that I personally can’t just mark them as uninteresting.
On a closer listen, the albums splits itself into three movements, which are not obvious by any markings, but it’s in those points (namely the fifth track, Water Lily, and the ninth one, The Fever) that the record shifts gears and slowly morphs into something different.
The first segment starts off with a very Lostprophetish vibe and consists mainly of alternative rock tracks, with Birth being the obligatory ballad (although it has a nifty electro background), and it’s probably the most cheesy part of the album. Nevertheless, you can’t deny its value for vocal hooks, which frontman Benoit Poher delivers with ease.
The middle segment begins with Water Lily and I’m instantly reminded of Rosetta, but without the harsh vocals. Now there’s a definite switch, I tell you! Although it doesn’t last long, this part starts off more subdued, relying greatly on emotional deliveries, with crescendos all over (that also apply to the following three tracks), while at the same time reaching an old-era Korn sound when the choruses start to hit. Metal influences are injected here and there, while the third track of the segment is again the ballad of the bunch. All in all, this whole part evokes an “emo” feel, however much I hate using that word. It may not be for many to listen, but the execution is flawless in a way that it achieves its goal without any fancy overuse of technicality. Cheesy lyrics galore, but I’ll be damned if I mind!
Now for the final part, which begins with The Fever, a track that steers deeply into nu-metal territory; however, while deeply rooted into the “verse-chorus-bridge” state of things, it manages to rise the quality bar with an excellent (albeit cacophonous) outro, spawning the kind of repetitive sounds that you’ll probably never want to end. And what great drumming on top of all that! For me, it’s the best part of the album, one that is so different to those first seconds of the starting song, God Is My Lover.
The next track, My Empress, is pure and simple screamo worship: simple, short, never asking to be more than it actually is. Then we have (yet again, precisely placed) the ballad of the segment, which at this point it just fades in and out and I must confess, it’s probably the weakest song out of the whole LP.
And we have come to the end with Join Us, a six-minute monster that encompasses all of the styles previously played, having a great headbanging rhythm and a bigger metalic feel. Again, the outro is simply infectious and it fades slowly into a droning bass sound after which, if you’ve paid attention to the whole release, you’ll probably want to hit the repeat button.
I have to say that this LP has taken me by surprise. Constructed on a backbone that defines pretty much everything that could be wrong in a song, be it either rock or metal, it somehow manages to add value to each instrument and it achieves that feeling that the sum is always better than the individual parts (even this saying can’t get any more clicheic). While many of you may not like it, you can’t deny the professionalism and the carefulness in construction applied by these guys, attributes that act as to establish a group of great musicians.
And we can’t ever have too many great musicians, right?