DARK EMPIRE – Humanity Dethroned

DARK EMPIRE - Humanity Dethroned
  • 9.5/10
    DARK EMPIRE - Humanity Dethroned - 9.5/10


Killzone Records
Release date: May 5, 2008

User Review
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Presenting, what could have been, the next generation of the German Blind Guardian. Dark Empire, an American and partly a Swedish joint force, plays a mixture of Power and Technical Thrash Metal along with some of the late Gothenburg’s Melodic Death Metal scene. The group from Long Island, New York started out in 2004, playing Power and Thrash Metal with themes of fantasy with much resemblance to Blind Guardian’s epics. In 2006 they released Distant Tides which is in the same vein as the Swedish Persuader, Blind Guardian and the German Savage Circus. This year the guys left the fantasy theme behind and took a more mature view of the world’s society which can be emphasized in their latest Humanity Dethroned. In addition to their maturity the music has become more hammering and brutal but still exudes those touches of melody and calmness.

Beyond their maturity the band shows some interesting heavy riffs, Death Metal growls along with aggressive and emotive clean vocals. The production, which was handled by Jeremy Krull, is of a high quality rate and different from their last release.

The creators of the music attack the listener with furious force and end with a strong and emotive ballad that enthralls the mind and keeps itself in your memory. This release could have been a Blind Guardian release if they had kept their Power/Thrash Metal sub-genre intact back in the early and mid 90’s. The mere aggressiveness of the music on some of the tracks can be felt in tracks like: “Welcome To Dying”, “The Other Side” and “Ashes To Ashes”. Of course the sound today is with a much better quality but the vein stays the same. These guys show why they are one of Blind Guardian’s successors.

The Swedish part of the group is the vocalist, Jens Carlsson, who is a highly talented vocalist who ranges from anger to an emotional tone with an utmost ability. Carlsson, along with being the voice, is also the guitarist of the aggressive Power Metal act Persuader. He also has a main part as vocalist in Piet Sielck’s Savage Circus that plays Power and Speed Metal. Jens is like Hansi Kürsch’s little brother in the vocals area. He has the same range and the same voice with almost an exact resemblance. Jens has progressed plenty since the early days of Persuader, back in 2000, and it can be shown in his fine performance on the album. Alongside Jens stand the two axemen, Matt Moliti and Andrew Atwood. These two supply the music and the vocals with more aggressiveness and belligerence with their Death Metal growls of low and high end. On some tracks they take more of the vocals instead of simple punch lines. Moliti, as a lead guitarist, shows some incredible solo sections. Parts of speed and technique like on “No Signs Of Life” and “Salvation Denied” and heart cracking like on “Closure” and “The Forgotten Sin”. Atwood along with Moliti demonstrates a wide selection of heavy and brutal banging riffs and some graceful acoustic anthems. Samus, the drum man, pounds out some definitive progressive paces and punctuality.

It is very hard to choose tracks from this headbanger, but there are outstanding ones that deserve royal attention. The second track, ”No Signs Of Life” is a pin pointer on society’s aggression, blasts off with a heavy rhythm that reminds of tunes from the Death Metallers, Into Eternity. In addition there is the catchy chorus and some great solos and arpeggios from Moliti. The self titled track, “Humanity Dethroned”, is another great number which begins and ends with aggressive riffs and a duet of growls and clean vocals. This one has an amazing atmospheric chorus with a melodic rhythm. The epic, “The Forgotten Sin”, is a song that gives everything, from emotive music of an acoustic ballad through heavy riffs combined with psychedelic parts to hymning chorus. “Possessed (We Are One)” is the place where the gloves come off with a smashing Melodic Death Thrash rhythm that casts out all the remaining anger on the album. This track is very similar to songs by Dark Tranquility, Into Eternity and In Flames. The chorus and the lyrics are powerful and fit the music. Near the second chorus there is a very melodic rhythm verse which is much influenced by early Helloween. “Closure” is the last part of “The Apparition Sequence” epic but also is a fine closure for the whole album. This ballad is one of the best heard on a Thrash Metal record.

Humanity Dethroned shows a mature band that released itself from the world of fantasy to discuss more serious issues like violence, death, oppression and society itself. For fans of early Blind Guardian, Dark Empire is the best choice for taking the throne from the German Bards. Jens Carlsson on this project shows the young version of the legendary Hansi Kürsch and continues to be promising for years to come. The Metal world has evolved greatly and will earn a lot from these guys and bands like them. There is no escape, “Salvation Is Denied”.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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