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sabato 21 marzo 2020

Empire of the Moon - Έκλειψις

#FOR FANS OF: Hellenic Black, Rotting Christ
Twentytwenty is being an interesting year for some veteran Greek bands, which clearly shows that this scene is still healthy both in quality and in quantity. If recently we enjoyed Kawir’s last and their great album ‘Adastreia’, now it is time to taste another fine release coming from the Hellenic country. Empire of the Moon is the project founded by R.W. Draconium and Ouroboros in 1996. This duo became a trio with the incorporation of S.V. Mantus, only two years later. Empire of the Moon has never been a prolific band, as it only released a quite dark and unique demo entitled 'For the Ancient Light of Sin' in 1997. After this seminal work, the band was swallowed by the shadows, where it remained for a long time until the project returned to the first line-up, releasing its long awaited debut in 2014. This debut has some excellent black metal compositions, still reminiscent of its occult and murky initial sound. After that, the band took its time to release a second album, spending six years to get the sophomore album 'Έκλειψις' ('Eclipse' in English).

'Έκλειψις' is undoubtedly a fine example of the trademark style of the Greek black metal bands. Independently if the approach is more aggressive, epic or atmospheric, almost all the Greek bands which I know, have a strong sense of melody in their guitar lines. Empire of the Moon is not an exception and though it plays a more straightforward form of black metal in comparison to Rotting Christ, the songs of this album always have a good degree of melody and atmospheres. Some songs like the third track "Per Aspera Ad Lunae - I. Th Reso" may have a demolishing start, with those speedy drums, crushing guitars and vicious vocals. But as it happens with other tunes, the song evolves to a not so fast section, where the guitars have a greater room to introduce very nice melodies. Furthermore, although this is a guitar oriented album, the atmospheric touches have a good presence here and there, thanks to the work by S.V. Mantus, which introduces occasional keys and choirs, which increase the ambience of the songs. The next track shows a pure Hellenic guitar riff, which inevitably reminds me some old classic Rotting Christ songs. The song shows a quite fluctuating pace, which makes it interesting. The guitar work is again excellent with magnificently executed riffs and a very nice solo. One of strongest points of this album is that the previously mentioned remarkable characteristics become increasingly present in the later part of 'Έκλειψις'. This is because the final part of the album contains the longest tracks, which usually means a greater room to create compositions with a more different structure. However, this makes more difficult to keep the interest and inspiration alive through the whole songs. Fortunately, Empire of the Moon has worked hard to compose tracks full of excellent riffs, well structured compositions and interesting atmospheric tweaks. This tasteful mix makes you feel that the occult and mysticism related to lyrics have their proper sonic representation. As a summary and a great farewell of this album, we have the closer "Per Aspera Ad Lunae - IV Son of Fire", which is an excellent and maybe the most epic song of this album, breathing grandiosity, thanks to the majestic riffs and sticky melodies. The track flows between atmospheric parts, with some calmer sections and the most powerful ones, with easiness and inspiration. This song is without any doubt the end that the album deserved.

Good thing may take a longer time to enjoy them, but when the quality is so great, the wait is worth of our time, as it has happened with Empire of the Moon’s second album. This is an excellent work of Greek occult black metal, equally balanced in aggressiveness, melody and atmosphere. (Alain González Artola)