Scarlet Records – 2013 – Italy

A lot of cool bands seem to be crawling out of Italy these days.

Foremost among them are eclectic proggers Empyrios, who are often lopped together with the melodic set but use too many djent-djent riffs that puts them squarely in the extreme end of the spectrum. As creative trajectories go, “ZION” is the magnificent third album Empyrios always had inside them. Now the beast is out.

The bottom line is, if you like metal, you’ll love the newest outing from these guys.

Think Meshuggah’s usual grooving grimness with the vibrancy of Soilwork, Mercenary, and In Flames. A comparison to Scar Symmetry wouldn’t hurt either.

The album is off to an impressive start with opening track “Nescience” and only gets better with “Domino.” The production is crisp with a clean finish that brings a lively rhythm section—drummer Ciccioni and bassist Bertozi—into focus.

Electronica tidbits are present as well, with a nasty dubstep breakdown at the tail-end of “Masters.” Apparently it’s now the height of hipness for metal bands to drop some beats in their albums.

Breathtaking choruses are in abundance here and singer Silvio Mancini seems to have delivered a performance of a lifetime. The epic stuff is ever-present too and is balanced by awesome crushing grooves, jackhammer drumming, and swirling compositions reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner’s finest moments.

Songs like “Renovation” and the title track are just huge, huge productions quaking with heaviness. On the other hand, complex diversion and expert guitar solos by Monsignor Mularoni prevails on such cuts as “Wormhole” and the thunderous finale “Madman.”

Mamma mia! Empyrios have set the bar high this time around. Don’t miss “ZION.”

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