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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Armory - 2013 Empyrean Realms
Armory - 2013 Empyrean Realms

ARTIST: Armory
ALBUM: Empyrean Realms
LABEL: Metavania Music
SERIAL: 700261391953
YEAR: 2013
SPONSOR: Joe Kurland (Metavania Music)


LINEUP: Adam Kurland - vocals * Joe Kurland - guitars, drums * Chad Fisher - guitars * Thomas Preziosi - bass * Peter Rutcho - keyboards * Tom Vieira - live drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Eternal Mind * 02 Dreamstate * 03 Beyond The Horizon * 04 Reflection Divine * 05 Horologium * 06 Elements Of Creation * 07 Inner Sanctum * 08 Fate Seeker * 09 Quest For The Fleece



We first crossed paths with Armory back in late 2007. Their debut album 'The Dawn Of Enlightenment' certainly got my attention and got a great write-up as a result. This Massachusetts power metal outfit have been out of the loop for a few years, though keyboardist Peter Rutcho did treat us to the excellent 2011 project Vomitron to tide us over. However, just as we are ready to ride out the end of 2013, Armory turn up once more with their second CD 'Empyrean Realms' which really is a sonic heavy metal experience. The band are intact as they were back in 2007, but I feel the music has gone up a notch or two since then. That's to be expected with technology improving things in the studio, but the time together has really tightened this band up no end. I'd love to see them live, as I feel they have the chops to astound! At only 50 minutes, 'Empyrean Realms' is not an overdone progressive metal or power metal encyclopedia. No, Armory keep things well in check, and the relative compactness of the album was quite appealing, unlike the 4 sides of the latest Ayreon marathon effort that is 'The Theory Of Everything'. Anyway, I digress. Singer Adam Kurland has a fantastic and powerful voice. He's caught somewhere between a Geoff Tate (or should we be comparing Adam to Todd La Torre now?) and Pagans Mind's Nils K Rue, another Queensryche disciple. Musically, Armory still keep a footstool in the old school 80's metal camp, with Fifth Angel a reference, while more modern bands such as Magnitude 9 and the dearly departed Texan band Stride come into reckoning. It's an impressive fusion of prog and power metal, coupled with the sci-fi imagery and lyrics, this one is for the metal fan who doesn't get to do the outdoors a hell of a lot. Stuck in the upstairs room, it's all about no girlfriends, a ton of computers and music gear and dial in pizzas. Oh dear..

The Songs
Armory put the pedal to the floor from the get-go, 'Eternal Mind' featuring some wicked double kick drum-work even before the first verse commences. This one sounds like a younger and muscular Pagans Mind, Peter Rutcho's keys giving this a nice layered sheen, but wait till the solos open out.. woah! It's open season! 'Dreamstate' with its symphonic underbelly appeals greatly, you can hear a ton of reference points on this one. 'Beyond The Horizon' is heads-down no nonsense metal, but the pre-chorus is very melodic, while the soloing is pure OTT neo classical shred. 'Reflection Divine' further takes the Pagans Mind directive one step further, but it's slightly more speedier than our Norwegian heroes. Still, it's a fantastic compliment to be compared to Skien's finest! The unusually named 'Horologium' is 'aural bombast' defined. An instrumental, it has an exotic theme in parts, but all of this is forgotten as Joe Kurland and Chad Fisher rev it up on the guitars and keep it real and keep it 'metal'. 'Elements Of Creation' retains a speedy edge throwing out comparisons to Dragonforce, especially when you hear some of the guitar and keyboard solos. 'Inner Sanctum' gets my vote as my favourite track on the album. It is so melodic throughout, helped by Peter Rutcho's keyboard work with some tinkly AOR like passages filtering through. 'Fate Seeker' hard-charges through its 6 minute run-time, with a few twists of tempo amid restraint and pure escapism. The finale is the pompous 'Quest For The Fleece', with parping fanfare introducing this 7 minute power metal epic. Jason of the Argonauts is given a mention.. I'm assuming it's the same character in the current BBC TV show 'Atlantis'? The drumming is bullet-like, while the synth work is a mixture of layered magnificence and sheer solo dexterity.

In Summary
'Empyrean Realms' is an utterly engaging listen. I'm sure the rapid-fire drumming might not be everyone's cup of tea, but this band isn't just about an OTT rhythm section. They appeal on many fronts, whether it's the vocalist, the twin guitars or the spiralling keyboard/synth work. The lyrics and the imagery are fantastic, and as for that album cover, I reckon it's one of the best I've seen all year. With the band signed to Joe Kurland's Metavania Music, you won't see the CD out in the biggest retailers, so to grab a copy, head on through to Armory's website (listed above), and tell them GDM sent ya!

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#1 | gdazegod on November 17 2013 13:42:15
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