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This is not the first time we listen to a metal album that has the special participation of an orchestra. Dimmu Borgir are one of the greatest examples of that. And I think we can say that Shade Empire took some inspiration from "Abrahadabra". But "Abrahadabra" was an album loved by some, but hated by many, so Shade Empire had to be really careful while doing this album. And that happens every time a band tries something new, like changing their style from a real death metal to a more melodic death metal, there are always pros and cons. There will always be people saying that they loved the old sound and that want it to be kept the same, but there will be those who didn't like that band so much and that think the band needed a change. That always happens, and when the bands to that style changing, they are always taking a high risk. Regarding Shade Empire, I am more in the group of those who knew this was a good band, but that never really caught my full attention. I'm not saying they needed a change, but for the band to gain my interest they would have to be a little bit different. Albums like "Intoxicate O.S." or "Zero Nexus" never made me listen to them fully. They just... didn't. But "Omega Arcane" did. Yes, it did! This one really surprised me. I sincerely believe, that this is easily one of the top ten albums of the year so far. Not only so far, I think this will easily be one of the top ten albums of this year.
The album starts with a song that, in the realm of the more melodic death/black metal, is, in my opinion, the song of the year, along with "Formidable" and "The Unknowing", both by Omnium Gatherum. The song "Ruins" starts with a great guitar work and, at the same time, an awesome work by the orchestra led by Mikko Mustonen. After that, the fastest part of the song, which stops for the clean vocals to come in. When the clean vocals end, the song goes to its fast part again and after that, just listen to the piano. What else can I say about the majesty of "Ruins"?
And although I think "Ruins" is the best song of the album, the songs that follow this one aren't in anyway worse. "Until No Life Breeds" is the only song that I don't like that much. All the others are amazing. The harmony between the elements of the band is perfect. The growls, the guitars, the bass, the keyboards, the drums (fast like hell!) and, of course, the orchestra, all these elements are perfectly fused as one solid piece. These instruments are put together to create a pretty interesting fusion between black and death metal. As we know, black metal is much more focused on the atmosphere than death metal. On the other hand, death metal is much more focused on the technical skill than black metal. Shade Empire are focused on both these points: atmosphere and technical skills, which is, once again, not unique in the metal world, but they do it perfectly. All the melodies rise to the surface while the speed indicator is in the max. And that is creepy. In a good way. I was instantly speechless when I heard this album for the first time. And after listening to it for the eighth or ninth time, I never get tired.
This album is only made of high points. No low points here. I feel a lot of shivers down my spine when i get to the minute 1:27 of "Ash Statues". It may not seem much of a big thing but the simplicity of it is what makes it fabulous. I think the best songs in this album are "Ruins", "Ash Statues", "Disembodiment" and "Slumbering Giant", but I think no one will disappoint you. It is an album made to remain in the history of metal for many years to come. There is no hope for our pitiful race but there is Shade Empire, and as long as they do things like this album, that's all we need...