As a rule, most people don’t connect the United States to Symphonic Black Metal, usually we tend to think of Norway, and that area of the world for good bands of the genre. Guess what? There are some worthy bands doing that style of music here. The first I’d ever heard was a group from California who called themselves Sothis, and they were awesome. The next American band I heard of is the one that this review is about, and they are called Empyrean Throne; based in Lake Forest, California. On August 11th, 2017 they released a slab of molten, blackened, symphonic metal unlike anything that this country has seen in a while; Chaosborne is sheer brutality, and symphonic beauty combined. If I was to liken this band to anyone, I would say that they sound like Cradle of Filth meets Dimmu Borgir meets Old Man’s Child. Those are three of the greatest bands in the genre, and to combine them you end up with an album of metallic ferocity.
Chaosborne has 11 tracks within it, and herein you will find very little clean singing at all; not a negative aspect, but one that separates them from being Dimmu Borgir clones. Vocally, this has such an evil tone. The mix of death metal’s guttural growls, and the screams that fall more into the black metal variety, and an attack that is full of conviction. These are the types of vocals I have always loved, that evil tone is just gut wrenchingly amazing. The drumming is phenomenal, full of blisteringly fast blast beats, and solid double bass. Their drummer, Leviathan, is actually the one who turned me onto the band; another of Facebooks “Suggested Friends” list finds. Thank you once again, Facebook. The guitars are equally as fast, and crushingly heavy, with some really cool melodic aspects; also some great lead guitar work going in on this album. The bass guitar work is also fantastic, but to keep up with Leviathan’s drumming it would have to be; this is a band full of skilled musicians. Yet, let’s not forget the symphonic elements of this group. The middle section of “Devouring Mark” has one of the best symphonic pieces I have ever heard. The cello is dark, and haunting, leading the song back into it’s extremely vicious black metal stylings. I love this, as I have mentioned before, mix of dark and light, heavy and mellow, and the contrast it can bring to music. This is a seriously heavy album, and if you love symphonic black metal as much as I do, then you will need to add this to your collection.
Choasborne came out in August, and you can get it online, through the band, Bandcamp, and assorted other places I’m sure. I’ll leave you all some links below!
– Tom Hanno
For more on Empyrean check out: