Through the Blackened Gates of Immortal Hell
2002, Independent Release
Fallen Empire, "Through the Blackened Gates of Immortal Hell"
When I first looked at this album my expectations were high. You just get a feel from the professionalism of the packaging that the tracks should sound equally good. And, true to form, the album oozes a professionalism of approach that most bands don't achieve after their fifth attempt never mind their second. The overall black/death attack is tempered with time changes, interludes and changes in vocal styles that makes for a really interesting listen, as this change of pace is not over done - a trap that nearly every solo project falls into. Typical of the Scandinavian black metal derived style, there are keyboards on this album which accompany each track rather than lead it, . The keyboards are much more subtle than, say Bal Saggoth or Dimmu Borgir, and therefore add to the track and don't try and soften or dominate it.
There is also something Viking-like about a couple of tracks on this album that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the mix of male and female vocals on and the quasi-classical time changes that appear. Maybe it's the Emperor-esque riffs of the first track. Maybe I've been listening to too much Bathory all my life and I'm now quite, quite mad. Well, mad or not, the musicianship on this album is top quality with both the guitar and bass in particular being really tight. The production is also really excellent with drums, guitar and bass all discernible and where they should be in the mix. The low spot on the album is track six, which doesn't quite work in some of the centre sections but this is a minor quibble on an overall, very listenable album.
To sum up, I think this is an excellent effort. While not producing anything particularly innovative, it provides well-structured, well-played and well-produced metal to meet anyone's high standards.
Destined for the Throne