"Deliverance" (Heavy Gloom Productions; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Deliverance," from Portland's Empyrean Fire, is a sweeping, black metal epic. With its crushing riffs, its pummeling percussion and its vast atmosphere, this album will roll over you like a fiery lava flow.

After a first track that sounds like something from an apocalyptic movie score, "Deliverance" kicks in with the appropriately entitled "Gathering Storm." The song does just that ... gathers like a storm ... and delivers a punishing set up for the rest of the album. And I don't mean to say that the rest of the album all sounds the same because it doesn't. One of the things that works so well about "Deliverance" is the variety of tempos, vocals and sonic atmosphere in each track.

Even more impressive is the fact that "Deliverance" is a concept album. According to the band's Facebook page, Deliverance is "mainly based off the poem written from John Milton, 'Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained,' originally published in 1667. 'Deliverance' is a sinister take on Milton's work, reshaping it with harrowing twists and malevolent revelations, each chapter a battle in the dragon's ascent to gain command over Hell on Earth. Will you bow down in battle, sunken before the spear?" Now, I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and listen to this record while reading along with the lyrics but I can tell you can tell by the music alone that a story is being told here. The tracks on "Deliverance" feel like chapters of a book.

 It's hard to put a finger on favorite tracks here because "Deliverance" feels like it should only be reviewed in its entirety, but I will say that  "Perdition" stands out with its steely intro and powerful driving rhythm. And the tracks which feature a multitude of vocal styles, including monster growls, clean vocals and female vocals, tend to grab the attention as well.

"Deliverance" is Empyrean Fire's first album and they pretty much knocked it out of the park. Fans of symphonic black metal, especially the Scandinavian style, will find plenty to like here.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/empyreanfire666/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2020 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.