Against Magazine

DEMONCY “Empire Of The Fallen Angel (Eternal Black Dominion)” (Review)

demoncy - empire cover bigDemoncy
Empire Of The Fallen Angel (Eternal Black Dominion)
Forever Plagued Records
Release Date: 29 June 2015
Score: 5.5 Stars

“‘Empire of the Fallen Angel’ might be an unorthodox and interesting approach to one’s own art, but the result is nothing spectacular and nothing to remember.”

There are some things in this world which could forever remain a mystery. The improved re-release of Demoncy’s third album “Empire of the Fallen Angel” might just be such a mystery. The album was originally put out in the year 2003 and various band members participated on the release. Now mastermind Ixithra decided to re-record the album completely alone and as a bonus he added four new compositions. It’s rather unclear why he did that, but it’s safe to assume that he was unsatisfied with the first edition of this album.

Unclear is, however, also the question if the listeners appreciate this new take on the album. The changes are pretty drastic and that has actually little to do with the four new songs. Ixithra has mercilessly tuned down the production. Take for example the song “The Obsidian Age of Ice”. On the first version of the album (2003) this track had power, it had energy and epic moments – the instruments were clearly edible and quite well played. The same song has now completely lost these characteristics on the second version. The sound is extremely dulled and muted and therefore stealing the instruments – especially the drums – their power. Also Ixithra’s vocals are entirely different. He focuses on whispering chants, sounding like a reptile, while Synvorlath used stronger and more classic black metal screams on the old version. When Forever Plagued Records therefore write in their promo-sheet that “the original compositions are stripped down to slower, more ritualistic tempos and the production’s mercilessly primitive”, then that is definitely true.

The four new songs – they are all at the beginning of the album – deserve some closer attention. The opener “Invocation to Satan” is more a long intro than a song, in which Ixithra seems to evoke dark forces. A fitting introduction, but nothing special. The other three tracks are fully-fledged songs and fit perfectly in the overall atmosphere of the album. The same subtle and sinister atmosphere is present which also dominates the old tracks. Therefore the album sounds very organic and one wouldn’t guess that these songs haven’t been there on the earlier version of the album.

Ixithra still faces two problems here – first of all, “Empire of the Fallen Angel” wasn’t a bad album in its original version, but it also was no milestone. Secondly, his new approach to this music takes all the energy and power out, which was actually one of the interesting and positive aspects of this music. Although one can understand Ixithra’s interest in presenting his songs in a more primitive, repetitive and sinister manner, it’s not easy to appreciate it.

In the end “Empire of the Fallen Angel” might be an unorthodox and interesting approach to one’s own art, but the result is nothing spectacular and nothing to remember. Fans of Demoncy might want to obtain this version in order to have a complete discography of their favourite band. And some might be curious about how this new version sounds. But the larger part of the black metal community can live without this second edition and actually also without the first version, since – as said before – “Empire of the Fallen Angel” was no musical milestone in 2003.