Dark Empire - Humanity Dethroned
Killzone Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (55'14)
Release year: 2008
Dark Empire, Killzone Records
Reviewed by Ben
Album of the month

After many delays, the hard copy of Humanity Dethroned has arrived in my hands. This album has been available on Itunes for a couple of months but you know me, I have to get the real deal. I gave a glowing review to the debut, Distant Tides and two years later that album still sits well with me. While it might seem that I am constantly bemoaning about the lack of new bands that come out of their dwellings with actual talent, the ones that do possess the goods have talent seeping out of their pores.. So what is new here with album number two? Matt Moliti himself has gone on to say that Humanity Dethroned is a marked departure from the style found on Distant Tides. I respectfully disagree. To these ears, Humanity Dethroned is not a removal from their beginnings but evolution, natural and exciting evolution that produced fruitful results.

Opener Eyes Of Defiance comes spinning out with a meaty melodic riff and instantly I noticed that the guitar tone is much heavier, a lot more gritter than before. Of course there are still rollicking solos that command attention but the harder tone is the first noticeable change from round one. There is also an increase in the harsh vocal department. I’m glad the band decided to experiment more with this vocal tool. They comprise maybe a third of the vocals on the album but the way that they are used is surgically precise. This isn’t like with many other bands where you have some guy bellowing like a pissed off ape to sound heavy for heaviness’ sake. Certain lines are emphasized and given conviction. The title track is a scathing slab of contempt directed at those that abuse their power and deceive and lie. With lyrical content like that it is no surprise that harsh vocals are used predominately here.

Dark Empire flexes its’ epic muscle on two occasions throughout the album. The first instance is the eight minute long The Forgotten Sin. When I think of this track, progressive rock circa 1977 comes to mind. During the verses, singer Jens Carlsson, has a flowing roll with the melody and the way he weaves it just screams Genesis, Styx and others of their ilk. Eight minutes is also ample time to let this song expand and there are many riffs to be found for the curious hunter as well as a short drum solo from former skin smasher Samus Paulicelli (currently with Abigail Williams). For epic moment number two we have the four song concept arc, The Apparition Sequence. My head clicks subconsciously and Fates Warning springs to mind. Already expectations are lofty (kind of like Ray Arch's vocals aha!) and I get exactly what I expected. A high quality piece that has an interesting story and uses a main melody theme on various instruments that appears at just the right moments throughout that bring this all together. A proper intro song, Prelude, is a guitar solo dominated, piano infused induction into Haunted. This and Possessed (We Are One) are two rather speedy numbers. Both make liberal use of harsh vocals. Those seventies prog rock comparisons come roaring back with the finale Closure. I suppose that this would be considered a ballad but To Be With You it ain’t. Acoustic guitar drives this track even when the electricity kicks in a quarter of the way through. And when it does it kick in it brings with it the best solo of the album. After a double bass assault in the ending flourish, this album ends in an unexpected but pleasant fashion, with a fading piano note.

Albums like this reaffirm that despite the crap that gets picked up by the boatload these days, there are still dedicated small independent bands like Dark Empire that can pump out the goods. If you bitch about how there is no more good metal coming out these days then get Humanity Dethroned. It shut me up for a few weeks.

Killing Songs :
No Sign Of Life, Salvation Denied, The Apparition Sequence
Ben quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Dark Empire that we have reviewed:
Dark Empire - Refuge to Ruin reviewed by Cory and quoted 85 / 100
Dark Empire - Distant Tides reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
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