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Violet Cold > Empire of Love > Reviews > Slater922
Violet Cold - Empire of Love

Not for Black Metal Elitists - 80%

Slater922, August 10th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Independent

Violet Cold's spot in the post-black metal scene has been an interesting one. Formed in 2013, the band has not only dwelled into black metal territory, but has also experimented in other genres from ambient, folk, crust punk, and even jazz. In 2021, however, the band gained some notoriety in the metal scene with their album "Empire of Love", in which the cover featured a crescent moon on a rainbow, which went against the "trve kvlt" standards of black metal elitists. But when you're looking at this on its own merits, it's actually some really good stuff.

The album begins with Cradle, a folk instrumental that eventually evolves into a metal portion. It's okay, but compared to other intros of the band, is on the lower end of the quality spectrum. But it's not until you get into the next track "Pride" that things get insane. While the instruments themselves play some standard post-black metal, there's also a sample of a woman singing a melodic tune. This sample only amplifies the triumphant atmosphere of the track, and the blackgaze style of the riffs is also done well. The track is pretty powerful with this mash of stylistic elements, and it continues down this borderline metal-pop line throughout the album. Tracks like "We Met During the Revolution" and "Working Class" are especially good at this pop mix, with the former in particular being the best track on this album as it's basically modern shoegaze-era Deafheaven done right. However, there are a couple of tracks that do feel a bit gimmicky, like "Be like Magic" and its trap elements not being a good blend. But while this metal-pop style doesn't always work, it's still an interesting mix that actually kind of works.

The vocals are also really good. Emin Guliyev's vocals have been a staple in the band's discography, and this album is no exception. He still mainly does some shrieks that add in more intensity within the melodic tracks, but he also goes for some different vocal styles. "We Met During the Revolution", for example, has its first half consist of a robotic voice singing, which flows perfectly to the blackgaze riffs, and "Shegnificant" having a female vocalist sing in this really calming and angelic tone that once again empowers the melodic and exciting atmosphere. Even with some of the weaker tracks, the vocals are still strong enough to power through the tracks, whether they include shrieking or not.

"Empire of Love" is pretty much designed to provoke the elitists from the start, especially with its album cover and unusual blend of metal and pop. And while I can't say it's done perfectly, I will give it credit for not only being creative, but also working much of the time. It might not be for everyone, but if you're into some experimental black metal, then I'd say give this one a spin.