Year of release: 2020
Released by: Iron Bonehead Productions
Rating: 8 / 10
EMPIRE OF THE MOON is a fairly typical Greek Black Metal band which meant that I should have little interest in it. I don't like and don't understand the southern Greek sound. However, with EMPIRE OF THE MOON on “Έκλειψις” (“Eclipse”), everything unexpectedly turned out pretty nice. Songs about magical seals and cosmic currents replete with the names of the gods perfectly fit with melodic and pathos music. When at the end of “Per Aspera ad Lunae - I. The Resonance Within” clean-voiced recitations with an abundance of hissing began, I immediately remembered my favorite Polish bands from the mid-90s. After all, much of the Polish scene was inspired by ROTTING CHRIST, and for EMPIRE OF THE MOON, their legendary compatriots also became one of the main influences.
The album starts off with a typicall rottingchrist-like piece, which is structurally no more complicated than a nail, but at the same time works with a bang: a melodic guitar shredding with bouncing and squatting lasts for 5 minutes, after which the album moves on to more complex and dynamic material. The Greeks actively shuffle hurricane swotting, mid-tempo blocks and epic fragments with an almost orchestral keyboard background, not letting you get bored even for a second. Despite the seeming banality, all the elements do not cause rejection, and the reason for this, most likely, is the high skills of playing. The band is simply masterful with guitars, performing tasks of any complexity and often switching to dark heavy metal with professional solos. All classical Greek Black Metal is inextricably linked with heavy metal, but not all bands managed to rethink it as successfully as EMPIRE OF THE MOON. The percussion parts are also at their best: Nick Samios, a man and a steamer, who plays the role of the Greek analogue of Andrey Ishchenko (participation in a huge number of groups, including ACHERONTAS and DIZZINESS), was in charge of drums.
Each song on the album has several memorable moments by which you can distinguish it from the rest during repeated auditions, and this is also a big plus. This is as it should be, because they are all chapters in the big story of the eclipse. As soon as it seems that the main arsenal of musical moves has been exhausted, they start playing... BATHORY of the “Blood Fire Death” era. True, not for long, but such an explosion invigorates and refreshes before the nine-minute final track. The music and lyrics on it partly return to the beginning of the album, marking the end of the eclipse and captivatingly portraying its result.
As a result, we have a really interesting, emotional album that takes the best from the Greek traditions of Black Metal. As already said, I rarely like Greeks, and such melodic music is even less engaging, but the album turned out to be cool, and nothing can be done about it. Once a year, even a stick shoots. Recommended for fans of ROTTING CHRIST, NECROMANTIA, VARATHRON, KATAVASIA and the like, as well as to connoisseurs of the great “Reinkaos” from DISSECTION, although the similarities here are more lyrical than musical.