Empire of Souls
Recently, I talked with the esteemed Mr. Protagonist about the difficulty of reviewing middle-of-the-road, unmemorable albums. Given that the job of the reviewer is to look for the strengths and weaknesses of an album, where is one to go when there are none? "Empire of Souls," the latest offering from Swedish power metal group Morifade, is one such album. On the one hand, it's not bad; in fact, there's nothing particularly wrong with it. However, apart from a track or two near the end, there is nothing that stands out as being brilliant, or even very memorable at all.
The material here is fairly standard-sounding power metal, with a bit of a progressive influence at times. Keyboards are used to provide a bit of atmosphere and the occasional melodic flourish, but don't do very much on the whole. The vocals are good, but given that most of the melodies are quite forgettable, they don't add a lot to the mix either. The one great thing about this album is the production; the sound is crystal clear, and every instrument can be heard with relative ease. Unfortunately, no amount of production will save bland songwriting. Aye, there's the rub.
I suppose I should mention that a couple of the songs did stand out for me. "Resemblance of Hate," the seventh track here and my favorite by far, is a fun proggy song with a slight middle-eastern tinge and some neat instrumental performances. I also found the next song, a speedier number called "Impact of Vanity," to be a standout of sorts, though that may be only in relation to the rest of the album.
All told, "Empire of Souls" is by no means a bad album, nor is it brilliant. It's a decent collection of decent power metal, with a couple really good songs near the end. It's nothing like Morifade's glorious 1999 debut, "Possession of Power," but I would suggest it for any fan of power metal looking for a bit of background music. Unfortunately, that's all.
- - -
Morpheus's Rating: 3.0/5