ARMORY Empyrean Realms

Album · 2013 · Power Metal
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4/5 ·
"Empyrean Realms" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power metal act Armory. The album was released through Metavania Music in November 2013. Armory was formed in 2001 and released their debut full-length studio album "The Dawn of Enlightenment" in 2004. The band weren´t satisfied with the result though and the album didn´t sell very well and didn´t receive much promotion either. As a result of their dissatisfaction with the recorded material, they opted to re-record the full album and release it again in 2007, which turned out to the a good idea, as the re-recorded version of the debut album put Armory firmly on the power metal map.

The lineup who recorded "The Dawn of Enlightenment" remains the same on "Empyrean Realms". That means that Joe Kurland again handles both one of the guitars and the drums. You won´t notice this though as he is as good a drummer as he is a guitarist. The rest of the band are very well playing too.

The music style is Euro power metal with strong ties to traditional heavy metal. It´s the keyboard heavy Euro power metal style that´s in the high seat here though. Anthemic driving rythms, neo-classical influences, loads of keyboard runs, melodic guitar themes and epic sing along choruses delivered by a singer who can hit the high notes with ease. As such not a new thing in the world of metal at large or power metal in particular, but Armory do what they do in a very convincing manner. The way they incorporate traditional heavy metal riffing also means that there are slightly more grit to their music than what your average whimsical Euro power metal act usually produce.

The material are generally very well written and while all tracks are more or less vers/chorus structured, the band take enough excursions outside that formula, to keep things entertaining and fresh throughout. "Empyrean Realms" features a powerful sound production which suits the music well. Initially I found the drums a bit thin sounding, but as a consequence of how they are produced, the music adopts an 80s heavy metal vibe, that´s quite charming. A lot of things actually come together nicely on "Empyrean Realms". I could maybe have wished for more faster tracks, but other than that this is through and through an entertaining high quality release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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