Eastern Front - EmpirE [Cacophonous - 2016]EmpirE is the much anticipated third album from Suffolk based Black Metallers Eastern Front. Released on the rejuvenated Cacophonous label, and recorded at HVR studios in Ipswich with producer Danny B (Lock Up and Pentagram). The album is their first with new female vocalist Marder, and features a guest performance from Cradle of Filth legend Dani Filth on ‘Crimson Mourn’.
The band have honed their craft on the road in recent years, playing alongside the likes of Winterfylleth, Cradle of Filth, Anaal Nathrakh and Carpathian Forest, as well as playing several metal festivals most notably Derbyshire’s Bloodstock festival.
Opening track ‘Empire’ comes in at just shy of three minutes long and works as an interesting spoken word introduction, melodic and featuring some pleasant keyboard lines makes for a good start to the album.
First track proper ‘Veiled by Blood’, takes us up a notch or two. This is traditional sounding Black Metal with good production values. New vocalist Marder is reminiscent of Ihsahn at times and fits nicely into the band’s overall sound. This is a fine start to the album.
‘The Fire Consumes’ is a full blooded Black Metal assault, bringing to mind Immortal. This has a strong vibe to it and highlights some fantastic drumming from Blitz. ‘No Snow Falls for Sorrow’ follows in a similar vein, this is a band really coming into their own. The album is a definite step up from previous outings, and they really do benefit from the great production.
‘Husks of kursk’ is one of the better tracks from the album and keeps things ticking along nicely. ‘Crimson Mourn’ featuring Dani Filth is another good slice of traditional Black Metal in much the same vein, although I think I’d have been happier with Marder singing alone. The tracks flow well and keep the album moving along well. ‘1000 Winds that Blow’ features a rendition of the 1932 poem ‘Do Not Stand at my grave and Weep’ by Mary Elizabeth Fry which serves to prepare us for the final track ‘Die Reise in Den Tod Part 2’ which opens with an acoustic intro and slowly begins to build. At just over seven and a half minutes long it is the longest track on the album and among my favourites.
EmpirE is a truly enjoyable Black Metal album and features some fairly strong material, specifically ‘The Fire Consumes’, ‘No Snow Falls for Sorrow’ and ‘Die Reise in Den Tod part2’. New vocalist Marder fits perfectly into the band’s sound. This is the sound of a band on the march. My only minor criticism is that it’s perhaps not the most varied album you’ll hear all year, however what they do, they do to a very high standard and fans of traditional Black Metal won’t be disappointed.Darren Charles