|Review: Empatic - Gods of Thousand Souls|
|Gods of Thousand Souls|
Label: Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho
Year released: 2010
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 29, 2011
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Gods of Thousand Souls
Empatic are a Polish group playing some kind of government-funded death metal band, and yes, I am dead serious about that. What? Are they going to vouch for all of the government’s political decisions on future albums? Were they some kind of plot to make death metal a corporate commodity that could be controlled? I want some answers here. But until then let’s just review this album.
I feel bad saying I don’t like this album much, as it is a homegrown product and the band obviously put a lot of work into it. It’s not a lazily written album, but it’s just not something I really enjoy. The band piles on elements of thrash, melodic death and groove into their palette of influences and each element kind of cancels out the others, making for a rather bland concoction that doesn’t really leap out at the listener. It feels confused and like the band has not really found their identity yet – it’s the kind of all-encompassing blandness that can just be summed up as ‘Extreme Metal,’ without any other defining characteristics.
The vocals are a harsh growl that tries too hard to be melodic, with singable hooks and what not, and maybe it’s just me, but I never saw a point in that. If you’re going to craft such catchy vocal hooks, why bother slathering them in such ugly vocal theatrics? It’s just kind of irritating that way, and it always baffles me that so many bands do this. The riffs are heavy and hooky, but not all of them are really that great. Every once in a while you get some good ones, but a lot of them are just kind of forgettable.
It’s hard to imagine such boredom as the first four songs on this album. They are seriously unbelievably dull, and they really made me dread listening to any more of it. But they do kick it up a notch with the latter half of the album. "Vs" kind of sucks, but "Tomorrowland" and "So What?" are actually pretty damn good songs, with aggressive riffs, melodic solos and kick ass hooks to boot. They’re the sort of stuff you’d be proud to see in the metal mainstream, as they are streamlined and catchy but also heavy and a lot of fun. "Dreamer" is OK, but drags on a bit too long, and wears out its welcome and the few good riffs it had. "Fulfilled Dreams" is another good tune, but the band’s self-titled track "Empatic" doesn’t really go anywhere despite some kicking riffs.
I gave this album a rating that is just above ‘average,’ and I have criticized it pretty heavily here, but I don’t think it’s a bad album necessarily. It’s not something I will be playing very much, and the band could use some work on making their future albums more consistent, but it’s got some killer tunes and there is potential to be expounded upon. Watch these guys. Not quite Behemoth-level commercially-sensible songwriting, but they just need some more practice.
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