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Armory: Empyrean Realms

Back in 2008 when I reviewed Armory's debut The Dawn of Enlightenment, I predicted big things for this Massachusetts melodic power metal band. Well, that hasn't actually happened...yet. It's taken 5 years for their follow-up, Empyrean Realms, but the wait was totally worth it, as you can tell that the band really took their time with this one, resulting in 9 songs of well crafted power metal with a progressive twist. Released on guitarist Joe Kurland's new label Metavania Music, Empyrean Realms is a CD that genre fans won't want to miss.

Though the influence of classic Helloween, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning, Gamma Ray, and Symphony X are still heard in spots, the band have really tried to develop their own unique style, and you can really see that happening here. The vocals of Adam Kurland are soaring throughout (reminds of a young Michael Kiske or Ray Alder), and he just sounds so confident on stellar tracks like "Beyond the Horizon" and "Dreamstate". Most of the arrangements feature symphonic keyboard orchestrations courtesy of Peter Rutcho and loads of crunchy riffing and flashy yet tasteful solos from Joe and Chad Fisher. Holding down the rhythms are bassist Thomas Preziosi and Joe Kurland on drums, though the band have brought on board Tom Vieira to do live drumming. As you make your way through the CD, you can't help but get caught up in the wonderful, catchy melodies, which are very upbeat and addictive, but make no mistake about it, the playing is also off the charts. Compared to their debut, I hear a lot more going on throughout Empyrean Realms, as the songs are more structured and certainly more demanding musically than some of your standard power metal fare. "Elements of Creation", "Fate Seeker", and "Quest for the Fleece" are all excellent tunes that just stick in your head, but honestly, there's really not a weak track to be had in the bunch.

With lyrics dealing with fantasy, science fiction, and mythological themes, there are always some compelling words to read along to while you are soaking in the enchanting sounds. It's very nice to see a US band creating music that we normally expect from European acts, and I highly recommend any fan of progressive power metal to check these guys out if you haven't done so already.

Track Listing
1. Eternal Mind 05:25
2. Dreamstate 05:21
3. Beyond the Horizon 06:52
4. Reflection Divine 05:29
5. Horologium 04:00
6. Elements of Creation 04:55
7. Inner Sanctum 04:56
8. Fate Seeker 06:21
9. Quest for the Fleece 07:00

Added: November 21st 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2693
Language: english

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