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The Spectre of Ballantre

EMPYROS were formed in Estonia some time in 2002, and they went through the typical story of line-up changes before they got a steady one together in order to record and release their first album “The Spectre Of Ballentre”. To the band’s credit, this album was entirely self financed and self produced, which is commendable. Being on a tight budget makes the sound a bit rough around the edges, but it is still listenable and enjoyable.

The band employs a dual guitar attack, with soaring melodic lines and harmonies abound, coupled up with tremolo picked and chugged guitar riffs, and what comes out is a mixture of Power and Thrash Metal. Everything is pretty simple, but it presents itself so well and the songwriting is very diverse, so the songs don’t just plod on at the same speed. The band uses the melodic tendencies of Power Metal and couples that with some of the more aggressive Thrash parts to write something that would appeal greatly to fans of both genres. Melodies come and go, the lead playing is very good and always fun to listen to (remember that?), and the riffing, even though simple and straightforward, is a very good driving force for the music, which is catchy and aggressive.

The one aspect I do not like is the vocal delivery. I’m not sure if the singer wants to do a growl but isn’t succeeding, or if he wants to sing in a hoarse clean voice but is lacking the power to do so. It’s the one thing that is keeping the record from being a great slab of Metal, but the guitar work more than makes up for it.

The songs are all around the 4-5 minute range, so it’s the perfect length for the band to develop the song and lead the songs through all of the ups and downs they need to go through while not overstaying its welcome.

The band has almost all the tools it needs to write more killer Metal: Excellent lead work, great sense of melody, clever use of harmony and good riffing. They just need to work on the vocals, and BAM…awesome.

Zine: Metal Observer

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