Reviews "The Long Road Home"
Metalliville (UK) January 2010
Close I certainly came to making that mistake here again in mistaking Empyria to be a newly plucked fruit from metal’s bush - it turns out that this outfit’s activity span bridges about 1991 with the present. This latest offering from the Canuck prog act follows a sort of odd n’ odds format itself in being a mix of re-recorded demos alongside newer pennings and though hard to tell by listening which are which, there’s a brilliant mix most of the way along. ‘Endless Circle’ and ‘False Witness’ are two of the less exciting tunes on the disc, growers both but ‘No Other Way’ gets things off to a proper start with a classy sound that comes right out of the scene’s 70s-80s heyday. ‘Lonely People’ sustains the momentum on a more upbeat note with continued use of well placed guitar harmonies that seldom try to be pretentious and just ride with the rest of the movements. ‘Last Rites’ is probably the best tune o the album with a very catch high-pitched chorus pushing the sound in a more AOR direction. ‘Can’t Wait For Ever’ is a sturdy hybrid of all modes covered, with the addition of something rarely risked in prog metal - the repeated-lyric chorus. ‘Of All The Dreams’ is a commendable impression of Dokken going prog and a potential joint fave with ‘…..Rites’ , with front man Phil Leite putting on a convincing Don-eqsue tone. ‘Without Within’ chases up with a solid mid-tempo prog metal onslaught, again in possession of a sizeable hookline but over way too soon- (unusually for this genre, everything on this album lasts between just 3 and 4 minutes). Foot finally coming off the pedal again a bit, ‘Walk Away’ seems not too an exciting number but still acceptable, just frankly building up to little at the end. ‘Returning Home’ comes across initially as a drab sounding metal ballad but a good swinging chorus structure supplies a reasonable high to end on and the listener is kept happy. My actual first taste of these lads, second helpings would be appreciated as they have hidden a lot that they’ve had to offer in the 17 years they been about. Impressive sounding tunes and a largely consistent edge maintained through this assortment, I hope they’ve not just had this pressed as a swansong release.
Added: Mar 3rd 2010
Reviewer: Dave Atrill 8/10
"METAL INVADER" (GREECE)
Empyria are a long standing prog-power bunch from Canada. I actually remember them from their early days as a hopeful band on Noise records subsidiary T&T ! The must go back some odd 20 years or so. This must be something like their 7th or eight album and apparently and according to the liner notes this was material that was performed but was never released or was included in preproduction demos, but never used in an actual album. Now as they reunited with bassist vocalist Paul Falcon, they decided to properly produce these tracks to celebrate his return to the fold. Their style is not a million miles away from say Fates Warning, with maybe some tinges of Crimson Glory, mostly on the musical side. Production wise the sound is typical, not great, but not bad either. It fits the style well. Vocalist Phil Leite, sounds like a bit of Ralph from GAMMA RAY/PRIMAL FEAR, crossed with John Arch (ex-FATES WARNING) and he reminds me quite a bit of Montany’s/Reviver’s singer as well , so you can imagine that he handles himself rather well. Songs like “The Endless Circle”, “Lonely People”, “Can’t Wait Forever”, “Of all the dreamers” as well as a few more are pretty good. Some people may complain that the style is not as relevant today, but I ‘d tell those guys to ##@$ right off ! This is a well performed and well conceived album and it actually will please those who enjoy, the particular style of early 90s power metal with prog inclinations. I ‘d suggest that you check out the bands informative website @ www.empyriaproductions.com as well as their myspace, before you actually make up your mind, but I cannot help but like, this band.
Added: Jan 22nd 2010
Reviewer: Dimitrios Fatouros
TOP 20 Releases Of 2009 - "METAL DAZE" - (Greece)
1. FUTURES END - MEMOIRS OF A BROKEN MAN
2. WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - VAST OCEANS LACHRYMOSE
3. CRESCENT SHIELD - THE STARS OF NEVER SEEN
4. SLOUGH FEG - APE UPRISING
5. HEART OF CYGNUS - OVER MOUNTAIN, UNDER HILL HEART OF
6. DARKOLOGY - ALTERED REFLECTIONS
7. ALTAR OF OBLIVION - SINEWS OF ANGUISH
8. TWENTY3:FIFTY9 - THE COUNT, ACT I, THE SOUL OF A PRISONER
9. CONQUEST OF STEEL - STORM SWORD:RISE OF THE DREAD QUEEN
10. HOURGLASS - OBLIVIOUS TO THE OBVIOUS
11. ANCIENT CROSS - ANCIENT CROSS
12. EMPYRIA - THE LONG ROAD HOME
EMPYRIA - THE LONG ROAD HOME
Empyria carry the heavy load of style and origin. Progressive and Canada. Heavy shade of Rush. Albums from the mid nineties (that I escaped so long?). The Long Road Home is the fifth piece, the first after seven years. Style; Fates Warning Parallels season and Inside Out. That melodic (the limits of commercial-can be considered as such) prog metal structures with clean, understandable rhythms, beautiful melodies, rich orchestrations, individual musical "xesalomata, melancholy timbre, uniform atmosphere. The False Witness flirts successfully with technocratic lyric US Power while Returning Home is from the finest songs of the year. I bet that if you hear the Matheos would envy.
13. BATTLE CRY - TODAY BELONGS TO US
14. TYR - BY THE LIGHT OF THE NORTHERN STAR
15. MOB RULES - RADICAL PEACE
16. THE ARROW - LADY NITE
17. HAMMERFORCE - DICE
18. TRIAXIS - KEY TO THE KINGDOM
19. PRODIGAL EARTH - ZENITH II ZERO
20. ROXXCALIBUR - NWOBHM FOR MUTHAS
Metal Express Radio (Norway) 8/10
EMPYRIA ‘THE LONG ROAD HOME’ (NIGHTMARE RECORDS/TSM PRODUCTIONS)
‘The long road home’ is already the 6th album of the American Progressive Metalband EMPYRIA. Their music reminds one of a cross between FATES WARNING, JAG PANZER and VICIOUS RUMORS. Also the new album is not far away from mentioned bands, so mostly making you remember the classic 80s technical Progressive Power Metalsound of mentioned bands. What we get to hear is of a very high level, which can be heard on 12 tracks in total. Quite some highlights here, especially the fantastic “Last rites” that sounds like a lost classic never recorded by CRIMSON GLORY for their debut or FATES WARNING during their ‘Paralells’ sessions. Be sure to check out this new EMPYRIA album if you’re a fan of mentioned bands!
(Points: 8.5 out of 10)
Metal To Infinity
92/100 (review by Stefan) Sept. 2009 (Belgium)
Sea Of Tranquility (USA)
The Long Road Home is a collection of new, previously played live tracks that were never released, and earlier demos complete with some futuristic artwork, from Canadian metallers Empyria. This band have existed for quite a while having started in 1991, and released five other CDs, their last back in 2002, so now after quite a lengthy break between releases, they have returned with this new CD. Each song was performed as full takes, so the notes read, certainly giving the album a different feel to the norm.
Empyria's website labels their music as power/progressive, on hearing The Long Road Home I found Empyria's music to be quite melodic, powerful and easy to get into. Though the progressive aspect is there on this CD, it's not excessively complex, and there's more of a mix of hard rock and metal. Also worth mentioning are the very dominating vocals of Phil leite, this is one vocalist who knows how apply his strong and distinctive voice.
"The Endless Circle" is a sturdy opener with a fetching solo section, following next with the very catchy "False Witness". Track three "No Other Way" demonstrates Empyria's diversity, and "Returning Home" concludes The Long Road Home being one of this CDs best. The Long Road Home has its share of well composed and appealing songs, and it's nice to hear band with their own sound, Empyria are one that surely has theirs.
Added: August 14th 2009
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Rock In Review (Aug. 11th 2009)
EMPYRIA are a criminally underrated prog metal band hailing from Canada. It's been eighteen years since the band arrived on the scene and since then they have been constantly touring, writing and recording and have released a few stellar albums. It's been seven long years since the last album 2002's SENSE OF MIND, which saw the band loose some fans for lack of their usual prog sound. Sounding refreshed and hungry again, 2009's THE LONG ROAD HOME is back to the sound they do best and is the best album of their career to date.
Whilst this is definitely a progressive metal release, it's still quite accessable to the casual metal listener as there is no over the top epics and as a matter of fact the longest song on the album is the seven minute closing track RETURNING HOME. Some of the highlight tracks are FALSE WITNESS, WITHOUT WITHIN, THE ENDLES CIRCLE and personal favourite LAST RITES.
Vocalist PHIL LEITE has a great voice for this type of stuff and sounds like a mix of GEOFF TATE and OZZY OSBOURNE.
The rest of the band all sound great and are all obviously very technically gifted musicians.
The songwriting is tight and to the point, with just enough space in each track for some prog goodness without going into wankery territory.
This a great album by a band that seemed to have dissapeared off the radar and should help them regain their lost ground and hopefully get the recognition they deserve.
Good purchase for fans of ILLUSION SUITE and CIRCUS MAXIMUS
Detritus E-Zine August 2009(USA)
EMPYRIA - THE LONG ROAD HOME (B) Empyria Productions/Scrape
Records/Nightmare Records, 2009
12 tracks, RT: 43:04
Hailing from Vancouver, Empyria is a progressive/power metal band
existing since 1991. THE LONG ROAD HOME is Empyria's newest album and
it's got a lot to offer for the metalhead. The whole album is upbeat
and can keep the listener entertained throughout its duration. This is
a must for progressive metal fans, but I think this album has a wider
range than that, and that all metal fans should check them out. "The
Endless Circle" was a song that instantly got stuck in my head, but
most of the songs are catchy and easy to remember. The band sounds
like they're from the '80s with their style, but with a modernized
feel on this album. They reminded me a little bit of Queensyche and a
little bit like Judas Priest. They're progressive metal, with a
rocking collection of songs; they're slightly underground and they
deserve to be heard.
Metalnetradio.com "The Long Road Home"
METAL FOX (South America)
(review by "ALI") Oct. 1st 2009 (Canada)
(review by Lars Schukar) Oct. 1st 2009 (Germany)
(review by Stefan Glas) Oct. 5th 2009 (Germany)
CD Reviews - "Sense Of Mind" 2002 & "The Legacy" 2000
Reviews for all discs also in "THE A-Z of POWER METAL"
Reviews for EMPYRIA's - "Changing Currents" 1998
Reviews for EMPYRIA's - "Behind Closed Doors" 1996