|Album:||Bestowment of the Seraphic Key|
|Release Date:||23th of October, 2020|
|Released via||Haeresis Noviomagi|
|Cover Artwork ©||Haeresis Noviomagi|
The roster of the Dutch label Haeresis Noviomagi, which I appreciate very much, has grown and strengthened with the project Empyrean Grace. The 28-minute debut album Bestowment of the Seraphic Key sound-wise perfectly fits to the already released bands and delivers mystical sounding Atmospheric Black Metal, which sends the listener on a journey into antiquity and convinces especially with its captivating instrumentals. Definitely a record that you will devour as a fan of the Dutch scene and not want to stop that quickly.
You have hardly turned on the album, you already feel transported back in time and familiar with the offered setting. The sound that Empyrean Grace pushes on our ears here is mantra-like and hypnotic and can captivate the listener from beginning to end to the music. Whether with raw blastbeat black metal or with quiet, spherical passages, on Bestowment of the Seraphic Key everything is right and merges seamlessly. The drums are beautifully powerful and striking, but do not offer too much variety and fit perfectly with the other musical elements. In addition to the discreet, mystical sounding vocals, which seem quite gloomy and lay like a shadow on the listener, especially the distinctive guitar playing inspires. Here you get to deal with long drawn-out riffing, which unfolds well in the deliberately kept simple songwriting and is interspersed with partly epic melodies. The atmosphere comes across densely and particularly tangible. It is carried by a natural-sounding production and thus forms probably the most independent feature of the sound at all.
Whether you like it or not, you simply can’t avoid diving into the sounds and merging with them, especially in the slower parts, which are a great contrast in the interplay with the rough Black Metal. Empyrean Grace clearly show that it doesn’t always have to be a cold setting to be able to provide sinister soundscapes and thus set themselves apart a bit with their dusty desert-ridden stuff from other Dutch bands that are currently causing a furor with the atmosphere known for their individuality.
The limited cassette version of Bestowment of the Seraphic Key has been released via Haeresis Noviomagi, as already mentioned, and is perfect for this physical format precisely because of its charmingly primitive sound. Empyrean Grace have created a very strong and catchy debut, which underlines the quality of the Dutch Atmospheric Black Metal bands. Once you listen to it, some musical elements stick and the setting somehow animates to deal more with ancient Far Eastern history. If you like Iskandr, Solar Temple or Turia you’ll find a lot of satisfaction here too, and you’ll definitly get the slight feeling that you’re listening to the soundtrack of the downfall of an ancient civilization.