Fall of Empyrean - A Darkness Remembered


Forest: Sold Out
Jul 5, 2003
Fall of Empyrean – A Darkness Remembered
Oak Knoll Productions – OKP005 – 2004
By Jason Jordan


Before Fall of Empyrean went on hiatus and solved their line-up problems shortly thereafter, they released their sophomore album A Darkness Remembered. Even though it’s the Christmas season – for some of us anyway – I’d wipe that smile off your face because this is over an hour of emotive doom metal, which drips with despondency. There are tried-and-true formulas utilized on this recording, of course, but the occasional departure from the norm is what makes this outing enticing.

On the one hand, we’ve got the growls, plodding music, and rampant synthesizers. On the other hand, aside from the traditional doom elements, we’ve got clean vocals, upbeat tempos, and loads of melody. Though there are eight songs on the menu, they’re each very lengthy with “A Mourner’s Tears” being the appetizer (6:12) and “Slowly Dying Inside” (10:17) the entree. Yeah, there’s a nice mixture on A Darkness Remembered. Not only do the lengths fluctuate, but also the songs leave one to guess where the then-sextet are gonna go. Fall of Empyrean switch their approach frequently, and “Slowly Dying Inside” and “No Hope Before Me” are prime examples; the latter is reminiscent of The Mantle-era Agalloch as several moments recall the sad, sad Oregonians. Unlike some of their companions, “Failure” and “A Mourner’s Tears” begin with acoustic guitar, an excellent touch that conjures an organic vibe, and is unexpected insofar that most doom isn’t on the best of terms with experimentation. Sometimes it feels like a cut-and-paste affair, though, like at the 2:30 minute mark of “In the Shadows of the Sun” when a mellow interlude connects two doom passages. However, much of the atypical methodology succeeds, serving to hoist Fall of Empyrean up above many of their fellow contenders. The fuzzy production could definitely use some tweaking, but isn’t anything to fret about.

I’m not the biggest doom fan – at 5’7” tall and 165 lbs. – but A Darkness Remembered is more refreshing than much of what I’ve been exposed to over the years. The lyrics and music are soaked in misery, though, so this doesn’t separate itself from traditional doom in that respect. Nevertheless, the band’s creativity gushes at certain points, and serves as a testament to their overall worth.


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