If you had told me a couple or three years ago that Deathcore would see a resurgence and on top of that become palatable I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are, a new age of Deathcore has wormed its way into the fabric of Death Metal and its many sub-genres. Sickening as I’m sure it is to many it equally cannot be ignored and in fact the saying ‘know your enemy’ is often so apt. So when I went in search of my then enemy (Deathcore) I came out the other side a convert, a born again Deathcore fan if you will. Suddenly I wanted to listen to my old Whitechapel and Suicide Silence records, that sentence even makes me ill, but it’s true. Regardless at least I can admit my own folly.
Let us not bad mouth Deathcore too much however as our band for today are Empyreal Vault. A French Technical Deathcore ensemble from Bordeaux. Their rise has been swift with them signing a deal to Great Dane Records to put out their debut full length. Now personally I’m rather fond of this brand of Sci-fi infused pomp so naturally my expectations are high. If this new wave of Deathcore has done anything it has at least paved the way for more serious strains of the genre. Alas we enter the Empyreal Vault, will it be filled with spoils or merely be a spoilt journey?
Symphonic opener Into The Forest is an ethereal bombastic beginning and entirely befitting to such a release, for once I will not complain about this kind of time wasting for it sets a scene. The Tech becomes almost immediately apparent in Deathbringer where thankfully the Symphonic portions are upheld to a decent degree and then blended with Deathcore notions and chug heavy riffs. The vocals are somewhat atypical and add very little other than a slight notion of brutality. Indeed the guitars also appear to borrow some influence from the likes of Gojira, perhaps an influence from home soil? During Nameless And Evil the vocals evolve somewhat to incorporate screams as oppose to the more low end ‘Hardcore’ vocals, I use that term loosely as they come across as far more Death Metal centric.
There is certainly no dispute of this bands talent and indeed ear for musical wizardry as Astral Wound so valiantly displays. Big riffs, Technical, even Prog portions and touches upon the Djent are to be found amid this interesting number. Adding to namely the Prog aspect is the instrumental interlude The Rain which almost has Dance-styled drumming at points beneath ethereal and growing Prog ideals, strange but intuitive all the same. Obscurity And Silence then amps up the barbarity and epic nature of the release with further Gojira styled pummelling riffs and haunting dissonance thereafter that builds anticipation for the faster paced sections of the track. Finally in comes I Am The Void, again more slow Tech/ Prog sections lay amid crushing blows of Deathcore/ Djent devastation. Not to mentioned the added Symphonics that really bring the track to life and separate Empyreal Vault from the rest of the Tech Deathcore scene.
Can I say that this is the best Technical Deathcore album I’ve ever heard? Probably not. However it is extremely good and controversially I am inclined to enjoy the slower parts of this album more. Perhaps it appeals to the Prog fan in me but it is these elements that give Empyreal Vault that added edge amid their competition. As stated it might not be my favourite Tech Deathcore album but it is still very different from the insanity of perhaps Infant Annihilator, this shows the diversity of the genre and that in fact there is a lot to offer. If you’re perhaps still dubious about Deathcore but are a fan of Prog, Tech, Djent or even Gojira for that matter then maybe these guys are for you, give them a go I’d be surprised if you’re disappointed.
(7/10 George Caley