A Canadian Prog metal band releases it's long over due 6th Release!
EMPYRIA's new release “The Long Road Home” is a return to their earlier progressive hard rock/metal roots. A very diverse release produced, engineered and mixed by guitarist Mike Kischnick. From more straight ahead power metal tracks like “The Endless Circle” & “Last Rites” to more melodic rock oriented tracks like “No Other Way” and “Walk Away” EMPYRIA remains true to their progressive leanings without being cliché and jumping on the progressive metal formats bandwagon. Well crafted songs and lyrics create a thematic landscape with an epic closing track “Returning Home” allowing new drummer Scott Gamble a place to shine. “The Long Road Home” is a musical journey through EMPYRIA's past, present and future which will expand the listening audience beyond just the progressive rock/metal world.
In the 18 years of the bands existence, the Canadian band EMPYRIA released in 1993 it's independent demo release “Ornamental Ironworks” cassette in a time when Progressive/Power Metal was being cast aside by the industries onslaught of Grunge and Mainstream Pop music. But EMPYRIA held their ground musically and in 1996 saw the release of their debut album “Behind Closed Doors” (produced by: Dale Penner (Nickleback)) on NOISE/T&T Records (Germany). Although a lineup change came in 1997 from Paul Falcon (Vocals/Bass) leaving the band and making the band a 4-piece with Phil Leite (vocals) and Ken Firomski (Bass), EMPYRIA realized there was a viable musical outlet for Progressive Metal worldwide and in 1998 released their follow -up album “Changing Currents” gaining an even stronger fan base and disribution through Nightmare Records (U.S.). Also appearing on Thomas Youngblood's (Kamelot) compilation release “Powerquest” in 1998. Staying true to their progressive roots EMPYRIA released “The Legacy” on Nightmare Records in 2000, in essence an EP that contained all four parts of their “Lighter Side of Darkness” in a continuous 25 minute epic. Well received by critics and prog. metal fans alike. In 2002 the full length “Sense of Mind” was released on Scrape Records (Canada) and hailed by critics as EMPYRIA's best release to date, with all releases appearing in “The A-Z of Power Metal”book. The band went on a slight hiatus for a few years due to Mike Kischnick's involvement as guitarist/producer/songwriter for Canadian metal icon “THOR” ( 5 albums/ 2 tours) as well as various side projects (Ten2Nine/ Severed Serenity/New Horizon/Life). While on a U.S. tour with THOR, Mike and Paul Falcon had met and discussed the possibilities of recording a new EMPYRIA album together. Well it's been 7 years but “The Long Road Home” is finally here with the help of new drummer Scott Gamble and longtime EMPYRIA singer Phil Leite. Believing that progressive music should never be a format, EMPYRIA remains distinct to their sound and style. Returning to their progressive rock/metal roots reflecting early influences of the band (revisiting early material never commercially released, as well as new material). It's been a long road but EMPYRIA has come back home, with their most accessible material so far, opening the door to a whole new world of listeners and fans.
Phil Leite (vocals)
Mike Kischnick (guitars/synth)
Paul Falcon (bass)
Scott Gamble (drums)
EMPYRIA "The Long Road Home"
The Long Road Home is a collection of new, previously played live tracks that were never released, and earlier demos complete with some futuristic artwork, from Canadian metallers Empyria. This band have existed for quite a while having started in 1991, and released five other CDs, their last back in 2002, so now after quite a lengthy break between releases, they have returned with this new CD. Each song was performed as full takes, so the notes read, certainly giving the album a different feel to the norm.
Empyria's website labels their music as power/progressive, on hearing The Long Road Home I found Empyria's music to be quite melodic, powerful and easy to get into. Though the progressive aspect is there on this CD, it's not excessively complex, and there's more of a mix of hard rock and metal. Also worth mentioning are the very dominating vocals of Phil leite, this is one vocalist who knows how apply his strong and distinctive voice.
"The Endless Circle" is a sturdy opener with a fetching solo section, following next with the very catchy "False Witness". Track three "No Other Way" demonstrates Empyria's diversity, and "Returning Home" concludes The Long Road Home being one of this CDs best. The Long Road Home has its share of well composed and appealing songs, and it's nice to hear band with their own sound, Empyria are one that surely has theirs.
Sea Of Tranquility - Rating 4/5 Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Gravgang (Norway) Rating 8/10
ZeeZee Dawsons Reviews (U.S.) Rating 4/5
EMPYRIA receives acolades!
"Best of 2009" Award from Metal Daze blog!
# 8 on CFBX Top 25 Metal/Loud Albums for 2009
EMPYRIA are a criminally underrated prog metal band hailing from Canada. It's been eighteen years since the band arrived on the scene and since then they have been constantly touring, writing and recording and have released a few stellar albums. It's been seven long years since the last album 2002's SENSE OF MIND, which saw the band loose some fans for lack of their usual prog sound. Sounding refreshed and hungry again, 2009's THE LONG ROAD HOME is back to the sound they do best and is the best album of their career to date.
Whilst this is definitely a progressive metal release, it's still quite accessable to the casual metal listener as there is no over the top epics and as a matter of fact the longest song on the album is the seven minute closing track RETURNING HOME. Some of the highlight tracks are FALSE WITNESS, WITHOUT WITHIN, THE ENDLES CIRCLE and personal favourite LAST RITES.
Vocalist PHIL LEITE has a great voice for this type of stuff and sounds like a mix of GEOFF TATE and OZZY OSBOURNE.
The rest of the band all sound great and are all obviously very technically gifted musicians.
The songwriting is tight and to the point, with just enough space in each track for some prog goodness without going into wankery territory.
This a great album by a band that seemed to have dissapeared off the radar and should help them regain their lost ground and hopefully get the recognition they deserve. Good purchase for fans of ILLUSION SUITE and CIRCUS MAXIMUS.
Rock In Review / Rating 8/10
(Posted on 7/27/13)
Excellent and powerful production with a futuristic but awesome looking cover / back artwork… honestly and sincere, “The Long Road Home” is a fantastic piece of Prog / Power Metal that should be picked up by both US and Progressive Power Metal addicts. Great vocals, excellent song structures, technical skills, sometimes catchy – sometimes hard to the bone… go check them out and order right on (see this as a good advice!). www.myspace.com/empyria
MY POINTS: 92 / 100 (Review by Stefan) METAL TO INFINITY (Posted on 7/27/13)
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