Nima : With ‘The Dawn Of Enlightment’ this American band delivered a strong debuted album. The melodic power metal of these men sounded quite European and although the band had no self-identity whatsoever, they fully convinced with their good songs, good musicianship and great vocals. At the end of November last year the follow-up ‘Empyrean Realms’ was finally a fact.
The new long player more or less continues where the debut left off, but already from the first seconds of the opening track, ‘Eternal Mind’ the gentlemen show progress on all fronts. The youthful enthusiasm the guys still had on ‘The Dawn Of Enlightment’ has now made place for a more mature approach, which is audible on both instrumental and vocal matters, as well as songwriting matters. The songs sound better thought-through and there has clearly been much thought and effort for details and arrangements. The songs are again full of catchy riffs, beautiful melodies, atmospheric keyboards (which play a bigger role on this album, but fortunately aren’t too dominant and don’t go at the cost of the guitars), and beautiful vocals. The gentlemen have also been responsible for the production themselves, and have given the album the exact right sound, with a great eye for details.
In comparison with the debut Armory has chosen for a more melodic and more progressive approach on ‘Empyrean Realms’. Don’t get me wrong, because the songs still sound versatile and the band accelerates regularly. But in general the pounding, traditional US power metal riffs are more limited. Personally I find that a pity, because apart from the fact that the more straightforward approach on the debut was more to my taste, the music sounds even more anonymous due to the new approach, despite its versatile character. But anyway, no matter how you put it, the fact remains that ‘Empyrean Relams’ a solid and mature album that will satisfy the fans of the genre, and fans of bands like Labyrinth, Domine, Domain en Edguy. But be aware that this album requires multiple spins in order to reveal itself.