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Since everyone else seems to be doing a doom metal review the past couple of days, I thought that I would do one too. Ok first of all, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a doom metal expert by any means. I only listen to a few bands in the genre, but after listening to this album I can tell you that I definitely want more. Empyrium isn't a pure doom band. Thats their main genre, but they also mix in elements of black and folk metal. This album is probably one of the most epic albums I own and anyone who's reading this should try to own it too.
The main thing that makes this album great is the atmosphere and I think thats the main thing in all doom metal albums because even though the guitars, bass, and drums probably arent doing anything special, the atmosphere of the album makes it so good. Just think of early black metal records like In the Nightside Eclipse or Dusk and Her Embrace and you will understand the atmosphere this album gives off. Like I said earlier, the instruments do nothing special. They are going in true doom metal fashion, slow and sort of depressing. The beginning of The Blue Mists of Night goes pretty fast for a doom record. The guitarists play fast, melodic black metal riffs with some pretty fast drumming, not blast beats, but fast. Then it slows down and the acoustic guitars come in and then from that point on the album is slow the rest of the way. Acoustic guitars are used quite a bit throughout this album. They are used in almost every song and thats the folk element that this album brings. Other folk instruments such as flutes are also used several times throughout the course of the album.
The vocals on the album are absolutely amazing. He has three main styles, a black metal shriek, a clean voice, and a regular, gothic-like talking voice. More often than not he uses the clean singing voice and it might remind you of Jari from Wintersun and the black metal vocals sound almost exactly like Silenius from Summoning and Abigor. All three vocal styles are used in every song. All of the songs except for the opening instrumental are extremely long ranging from 6 to 9 minutes. That just helps to make this album even more epic.
This album and band has definitely opened my eyes to the doom metal world and I can tell you that this album might open your eyes too. If you're a fan of black, doom, or folk metal, this album will probably amaze you. It's definitely one of the best albums I've ever had the pleasure of hearing and everyone else should listen too. Even if you're not into any of the kinds of metal that I mentioned, you should still check this out. You never know, it might surprise you.
First off, I must say that this is one of the most unique folk metal releases I have ever heard. As a matter of fact, I really don't associate Empyrium with folk metal at all, especially this release, Songs of Moors and Misty Fields. This album has a very strong melancholy gothic vibe to it. There are many folk instruments being used within the album, such as flutes, but overall, I get a very ye olde gothic atmosphere from this album. Everything within this album is incredible, and extremely enjoyable for those seeking dark, romantic folk metal.
The first thing a listener will notice about SoMaMF is the albums dark elegance. I must say, this is one of the most depressingly beautiful albums I have ever heard. A very sombre, romantic, and gothic atmosphere enshrouds this release. This mist of melancholy drapes itself over every song on this album, and perfectly immerses you in Empyrium's vision. As opposed to usual folk metal releases, which have bombastic use of folk instruments, SoMaMF has very subtle use of flutes, and other folk instruments. While listening to this album, I get a very dark medieval minstrel vibe, as opposed to the standard "battle metal" folk that is much more popular. Empyrium are able to flawlessly combine gothic, folk, doom, symphonic, and black metal influences into one extremely impressive and beautiful release. SoMaMF consists of only six songs, with four of them over eight minutes in length. Listening to this album in one sitting gives a profound effect. It is only then that you notice all of the details Empyrium put into the album. Every aspect of music becomes better each time you listen to it. Every instrument's sound has incredible quality and production, yet the album is by no means over produced. SoMaMF has an amazing natural feel to it, which is never lost within a song.
What makes this album one of the best, as well as deserving of a 100% score, is the beauty of the individual songs themselves. Each song is incredibly amazing, but the two that stand out the most to me are "The Ensemble of Silence", and "Lover's Grief". "The Ensemble of Silence" is by far the best track on the album, containing everything that is amazing about the album as a whole. The lyrics on this track are incredibly written, and entwine perfectly with the music. At times, the lyrics are spoken with merely a whisper, and at other times, powerful singing and BM-esque screaming is implemented. Intensity shifts multiple times throughout the song, which lends very well to its overall beauty. Acoustic and Electric guitar are also both implemented, with the former dominating the best parts of the song. Everything in this song exudes emotion, and evokes strong emotion from the listener. This song has made me brood within my candle-lit bedchamber many a time.
"Lover's Grief" is another absolutely amazing track on SoMaMF. This track is much more intense than the previous one I described. Intense probably isn't really the right word actually, but overall, "Lover's Grief" is more heavy and less acoustic than "The Ensemble of Silence". The track immediately starts off with a soft flute melody, that gradually becomes louder, and leads into the sorrowful whine of the guitars and the deep mournful voice of Markus Stock. This song follows closely behind "The Ensemble of Silence" in terms of melancholy atmosphere, but it shows much more use of standard metal conventions. For the most part, this song keeps its mid-tempo intensity throughout, giving way only during a piano interlude. Once again, the lyrics are incredible, and have the biggest aura of gothic romanticism found on SoMaMF, the title of the song itself is a big hint at this as well.
Overall, this album is amazing on all fronts; production, song structure, lyrics, atmosphere, and general flow. It evokes incredible emotions within me every time I listen to it. I would recommend this album for fans of gothic doom, gothic black, and dark folk/neo-folk. If you enjoy folk metal in the vein of Eluveitie or Turisas, this album is not for you. If you are looking for depressingly beautiful music, this album will satiate your need perfectly. People who are fans of Opeth's acoustic songs, Dead Can Dance, Dark Sanctuary, early My Dying Bride, Draconian, and Dornenreich will surely be entranced with the beauty of Empyrium's "Songs of Moors and Misty Fields".
Wow. Thats all I can say when I think of this album. This is an excellent release. This is actually the first and only one of Empyrium's releases that I have heard, but I can say that it is great. I haven't yet had the chance to hear Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays, which is supposed to have even more of a folk influence than this album.
The music on this album definatley has a very depressive and melancholy sound, but it still sounds great. The lead guitar parts throughout this album are awesome, and they help to create some of the atmosphere. Most of the songs here begin with pure folk music, followed by a guitar riff kicking in, which is usually accompied by a melancholy sounding melody.
However this isn't the type of CD that you put on, and each time you listen to it you hear a different melody or find something new to like about the music that you might have missed previously. This is music is about atmosphere, and it creates a very dark atmosphere. Most of the songs on this CD clock in at around 8 minutes or so, so the songs are quite long, many different parts to them, each different part with a distinct type of mood.
The vocals here are simply amazing, and I think that they play a pivotal role in creating the dark atmosphere on this album. Every song on the CD has singing with a black metal wail, and also very good clean vocal work. The vocalist here puts forth so much emotion into his performance that it is stunning. It does a great job to showcase the mood of the album.
When most metal fans think of "folk metal" bands like Finntroll, Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, or Skyclad will come to mind. All of the aformentioned bands have overall sounds that are pretty uplifting. This is NOT the case with Empyrium. Empyrium is proof that folk metal does not have to sound happy. As a matter of fact, I think anyone who listens to any type of music will be hard pressed to find a more depressing brand of music than what Empyrium plays. There ought to be a warning on the side of this CD that says "warning! do not mix contents with alcohol!" This is good to listen to if you just want to hang out and relax.. not good to get totally shitfaced too, at least not in my opinion. I say this because the atmosphere tends to suck the listener in and it is an atmosphere of sadness that just doesn't mix well with large quanities of alcohol. Unless your into feeling sad- if thats the case then go for it.
That said I beleive that this is a great release, and I listen to it often, albeit in small doses. I highly recommend to this for fans of folk metal. And if you like atmospheric music you NEED to get this album, it creates an atmosphere like nothing I've never listened to before. All in all, solid release from a great band, it would be a good album for anyone to add to their collection.
This album marks the fairly logical move into an even more folk influenced style that empyrium seems to have taken after A Wintersunset... This album is incredibly folk influenced. The use of folk instrumentation such as various flutes, whistles and such appears on all tracks. Not just a few like A Wintersunset.
The Vocals remain the same fairly heavily German accented sung vocals with the occasional Black Metal Rasp. It seems that the rasped vocals show up more often on this album creating equilibrium with the sung vocals.
The Guitar Leads are still excellent. Although some of the guitar leads are replaced with folk instrumentation. The leads still are very creative and create wonderful atmosphere.
The Keyboards have taken more of a back seat on this album usually just adding to the rhythm section and the drumming seems less "catchy" on this album. they don't demand your attention and totally blow you away with their simplistic but effectiveness like on a Wintersunset.
Although this is an excellent album and deserves a 98 ration, After hearing a Wintersunset (which should have gotten a 110 rating) it just seems not to reach that peak of absolute excellence. This album is much more mellow and less epic. The same Atmospheres of sadness, sorrow and grief saturate this album yet aren't as incredible as A Wintersunset... This is only for people who would appreciate a folk influence mixed with their emotional atmospheric metal. Which isn't very many people.