EMPYRIA – The Long Road Home

EMPYRIA - The Long Road Home
  • 8/10
    EMPYRIA - The Long Road Home - 8/10


Nightmare Records
Release date: June 16, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

For starters, the cover art and introductory sound bites are kick ass. The music to follow lives up to the hype established in its first impressions. To be empirical, Empyria’s cuts are technical and sharp; landing themselves somewhere in the vicinity of Symphony X and Queensrÿche. While this album is no Divine Wings of Tragedy, Operation: Mindcrime, or Empire for that matter, it has some of the tendencies that make those all great.

The guitar riffs for instance go beyond the average modicum. Oftentimes, gratuitous notes are thrown in for good measure. The singer, drummer, and bassist do more than a journeyman’s job, but it’s the garnishment chopped up by the garish axe that makes the songs’ embellishments zestier than usual.

Moreover, they seldom pour it on for the sake of it. A lot of their sonatas are setback and composed, saving every astonishing pounce for that precise moment. Case in point, “No Other Way” is similar to The Scorpions’ less fiery numbers like “Gorky Park”. In it, they’ve ensured that grating is unnecessary to get one’s attention. Almost as if marching to a different tune, they provide a segue as purposely intricate and properly fingered as a hemmed section from Tiles. Subsequently, they get off the beaten track, and return to the contemporary, with “Lonely People”, which is a cross between ZZ Top, Van Halen, and Rush. “Last Rites” is also a knockout preceded by deceptive feints. In both senses of the phrase, it’ll put the listener to sleep.

The remainder runs a similar gambit with “Of All the Dreams” doing it best. It’s intro is exuberant. Plus, it uses aspects of the preface’s essence in the song-oriented portion to liven it up. Later, “Returning Home” puts all the tricks together in rival fashion; however, it doubles the time-span. After a procession of splendid anthems, this is more like a homecoming parade than an end to a season.

The Long Road Home might lead back to familiar paths, but it does so in a roundabout way that ranges from in-your-face to passive aggressive. Still, it’s about the journey and not the destination. Even when they’re coasting, they’re making steady forward progress. Or to put it another way: While they may wind up in common territory heard many times before, rarely do they backpedal.


  • Joshua Turner

    Joshua was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iced Earth, Judas Priest, and Opeth are among his favorite bands, as well as Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings. Once upon a time, the radio was a stopping point for him. From the day he discovered side-projects and Scandinavian imports, it all changed overnight. Outside of music, his passion is roller coasters. But when he's grounded and at home, he belong in the company of musical aficionados and technical shredders. He’ll get his jollies listening to Jazz Fusion when his favorites are in short supply. Still, if he had his druthers, give him a pretentious epic with a high-brow concept any day of the week (and slap on a guitar line with oodles of power chords for good measure).

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