‘Über den Sternen’
FFO: Agalloch, October Falls, Dornenreich, Nest, Enid, Dark Reality
It really does seem like forever since Empyrium last released a studio album; it was 2014 in fact when ‘The Turn of the Tides’ hit the shelves and back then, the world was so, so different. This year has the legendary German Neofolk band returning with their long-awaited new studio album ‘Über den Sternen’.
With ‘The Turn…’, Empyrium tentatively dipped their toe back in the water after a long break and promised something special. Empyrium have taken this into their stride when approaching ‘Über den Sternen’, upping the ante and driving the stake into the ground. What the listener gets here are some beautiful folk melodies and baritone vocals juxtaposed against more atmospheric passages and driving black metal undertones. This means that this latest Empyrium offering has all the hallmarks of Agalloch, October Falls and Dornenreich especially through monstrous tracks such as ‘A Lucid Tower Beckons on the Hills Afar’, ‘The Three Flames Sapphire’ and the almost ethereal title track. ‘Über den Sternen’ take a huge leap forward in sound and arrangement, pushing and achieving what the previous release couldn’t quite fully master.
The truth is, ‘Über den Sternen’ may be a far cry from Empyrium’s magnificent earlier sound, but this album is the sound of a band getting back on track with a modified sound for Empyrium for a new era. The band has tested the water and you know, it’s pretty warm, so why not get in and take a swim, it’s actually quite soothing.