- Album Reviews

Empyrios – Zion

Founded by DGM guitarist extraordinaire and acclaimed producer Simone Mularoni, Empyrios have released two critically acclaimed progressive metal albums, 2007’s ‘…And The Rest Is Silence’, and 2008’s, and The Glorious Sickness’. The band is a supergroup of sorts in the world of underground metal with bassist Simone Bertozzi (MNEMIC) and drummer Dario Ciccioni (HARTMANN) joining Mularoni and vocalist Silvio Mancini.

The band has returned in 2013 with it’s third offering Zion on Scarlet Records. Being somewhat familiar with The Glorious Sickness, the genre of progressive metal doesn’t fully describe Empyrios’ style. While there are definitely progressive elements, the band also draws influences from the extreme side of metal and industrial metal of bands such as Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, and Fear Factory to name a few. Lead vocalist Mancini’s melodic or clean vocal style is reminiscent of Rody Walker from Protest the Hero and blends well with Bertozzi’s guttural growling vocals, which are used sparingly throughout the album.

The albums first track Nescience has a heavy Strapping Young Lad style guitar rhythm and Mancini’s vocals during the verses have a Devin Townsend quality, and a soaring melodic vocal during the chorus and a shredding guitar leads from Mularoni. The heaviness continues on the industrial tinged metal crunch of Domino. Seriously, the guitar tones on Zion are so extremely heavy and brutal and Mularoni’s production showcases the heaviness of the guitars, Bertozzi’s bass and Ciccioni’s lightning fast double bass drum patterns, as well as the underlying keyboard nuances. On Masters, the industrial and programming elements are brought to the forefront similar to classic Demanufacture era Fear Factory. The staccato intro to Unplugged leads into a brutal guitar riff and intense vocals from Mancini, which are accented with some soaring harmony vocals and Bertozzi’s death growls.

Mularoni once again rips an impressive shredding and melodic guitar solo and the song ends in brutal fashion. The keys are more prominent on Renovation, but that doesn’t make the mid tempo tune any less heavy, it just adds another dimension to the song. Likewise, the growl vocals are absent as Mulroni’s melodic soaring voice takes center stage on this track. By the time you get to the albums final track, Madman, your neck should be hurting from vigorous headbanging and thrashing about. As a whole, Zion is a very good album, and an impressive follow up to The Glorious Sickness. The band has a great sense of their identity as a band and they don’t stray far from that vision, by the time you get to the midway point of the album, the songs follow a similar pattern, heavy guitar, growling vocals and melodic choruses. This is not necessarily a critique, just an observation of the band possessing a signature sound. The musicianship and the songwriting are top notch. between Empyrios and the new DGM album, Simone Mularoni has proven he is equally effective on both sides of the recording studio glass. Zion is definitely a step in the right direction and should bring Empyrios more acclaim in the world of metal

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