Empyreon - Beyond Perception [Review]

Band: Empyreon

Album: Beyond Perception

Genre: Modern Metal

Released: September 14th, 2009

Reviewed By: Spirit Crusher

For the past couple of weeks, I've been listening to a melodic death metal band called Empyreon. With no research of this band whatsoever, I automatically thought they're Finnish, maybe German...they turned out to be from New York.

Empyreon, who, according to their Myspace, call themselves an "experimental" metal band, are just great! "Beyond Perception" is their first full-length, and it definitely will be something appreciated by most metal fans.

The band's lineup has changed since recording the album. The album's lineup consisted of:
  • Aaron Joos - Vocals
  • Mike Khalilov - Keyboards, Guitar*
  • Phillip Coard - Bass**
  • Frank Godla - Drums

*Empyreon have recently recruited Kevin Cruz on the guitar as well.

**Phillip Coard has also recently been replaced with Matt Brennan

Sound: What I really like about Empyreon is that their sound is consistent throughout the album, but each song has individual elements that stand out on its own; however, it doesn't make the song clash with the others. (I don't know if that made any sense, but I tried phrasing that out about 10 times)

I can notice some similarity in a wide range of bands, mostly from Norther and Children of Bodom...some of the tracks also remind me of a Japanese band called Blood-Stain Child. I can also feel a little In Flames and Dark Tranquillity in there too! Generally speaking, heavy riffs, fast drums, lots of keyboards and synth involved, and nice harmonies and melodies...sounds good to me!

Aaeron Joos' screams and growls sound like they're being inhaled...they sound decent in my opinion, but I really hope he's not damaging anything with that. He's doing a good job. If Aaeron is doing the clean vocals on some of the songs too, then kudos to him too! The bass, done by Phillip Coard is really solid and keeping every sturdy in the mix.

Mike Khalilov, guitars and keyboards, certainly doesn't fail to impress me either. While I find that the keyboards and synth can overwhelm the guitar parts on many occasions (and coming from a guitarist, excuse the bias), it still sounds really good. Featuring guest guitarist, Matias Kupiainen, from legendary Finnish band Stratovarius, I really enjoyed the guitar solo on "Of Mortals and Men", which sounds alot like Symphony X making love to a song on Children of Bodom's "Hatebreeder" album. The song also has some catchy synth leads which I really enjoy. According to Frank, many of the leads on the album will probably be redone as guitar leads in live performances with new guitarist, Kevin Cruz.

Frank Godla is doing a great job on the drums. He has some nice variating parts, and has some really nice blast-beats going on every once in a while. The title track shows some pretty solid drumming (which is available on the 1000th post's digital compilation album).

My four favorites off this album would be:

  1. Fall of the Equinox
  2. Of Mortals and Men
  3. Beyond Perception
  4. Swamps of Sadness

(I'm actually surprised Swamps of Sadness is up there, given that it's one of the songs that has lots of synth going on, but it really works!)

Lyrics: On their page in
Encyclopaedia Metallum, it's said that their lyrics themes are about self-awareness, the universe, and life and death. After reading the lyrics to their songs, I have to say that I really enjoyed them. A good amount of it feels a little abstract, but in a good way, because you can interpret it in many ways (or you may be an 18 year-old who just has nothing better to do than analyze music and lyrics, such as myself). At first glance, I got a little taste of power metal. All the songs' lyrics gave me similar impressions, not that it's a bad thing to begin with! These are great lyrics! Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite songs on the album, "Fall of the Equinox":

"silent, we keep distant

revenge flows though our veins

we are the power

we are deception

beneath these wounds

lies the infection"

In music, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there is no such thing as a perfect album. If there is anything I think that Empyreon can work on for later, is perhaps bringing in more lead parts with the guitar. With Empyreon recently recruiting Kevin Cruz on lead guitar, I'm convinced that we'll see more guitar leads involved. Also, if Aaron Joos is inhaling, I really wanna see what his exhales sound like!

Last Words:

What a way to start! Empyreon have released a heavy, melodic, technical, and tight first full length. Beyond Perception is an album I recommend for everyone to listen to. It's got influences from some great bands, yet maintains its own identity. I can't wait to see what these guys will come up with next!

Remember, their title track, Beyond Perception, is one of the tracks on Metality's 1000th Post Compilation, so look out for that!

Make sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming Metality digital compilation album, which Empyreon's Beyond Perception will be featured on, among many other bands from around the world.

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