German dark metal/neofolk band Empyrium unveil the title track of their upcoming album »Über den Sternen«, which will be released on February 26th, 2021 via Prophecy Productions.
Says the band: “The title track is also one of the last songs that we wrote for »Über den Sternen« and its title has been with us for many moons before the music to this song was actually written”, reveals mastermind Markus Stock. “Music and lyrics are an ode to the nocturnal sky and the eternal mysteries it unfolds with every nightfall. Based around a quote from German poet Friedrich Schiller, »Über den Sternen«, which translates as »Above The Stars« surely is a perfect title for an Empyrium album considering that our band name meant the farthest, fiery sphere of heaven in medieval cosmology. Musically it truly is a journey through many sonic landscapes that paint very detailed pictures before your mind’s eye – the awe-inspiring twinkle of the stars we marvel at with childlike amazement, but also the the vast and cold, black nothingness of the universe that makes us crouch in fear of the unknown. With this song, we are indulging in such juxtapositions. »Über den Sternen« is as Empyrium as it gets to me and it amalgamates elements from every phase of the band with fresh colours and hues to a new epic grandeur. Now delve into the nightly sphere!”
01. The Three Flames Sapphire
02. A Lucid Tower Beckons On The Hills Afar
03. The Oaken Throne
05. The Archer
06. The Wild Swans
07. In The Morning Mist
08. Über den Sternen
From all artists on the Prophecy roster, Empyrium have a special standing, and that is not only due to the fact that they were the first-ever band on Prophecy and that they shaped the label’s profile like no other band in the first years. With their first two albums the first main project by Markus Stock a.k.a. Ulf Theodor Schwadorf set standards in the field of romantic, lyrical dark metal.
From Prophecy Productions:
With their sixth full-length, »Über den Sternen«, an allegorical German rendering of their band name meaning »Above The Stars«, Empyrium continue to draw from the magic and spirits of wild places, nature’s beauty, and human relics of ages long past. »Über den Sternen« echoes this reconciliation of the old with the new on a musical level as well. The Franconian duo has brought the power of electric guitars and even those harsh vocals back, which marked their early works and stood strong upon the band’s melodic black metal foundations. Yet Empyrium also keep the dark folk style, which the Germans had progressively leaned towards with their later albums.
What used to appear as a fork in their musical development has now merged into one breath-taking sound. The combined force of mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, clean and extreme vocalist as well as producer Markus “Schwadorf” Stock and classical singer Thomas Helm, who lends his amazing voice also to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, is painting a radiant sonic picture. It comes with the melancholic grounding of the sophomore album »Songs Of Moors & Misty Fields« (1997), adds brushstrokes of the fairy-tale tempera colours of »Where At Night The Wood Grouse Plays« (1999), yet also uses hues from the selection on the Dead Can Dance infused folk-palette that Empyrium previously employed on »The Turn Of The Tides« (2014). The crowning varnish is diligently crafted from rougher elements that reach all the way back to the Germans’ legendary debut »A Wintersunset…« (1996). “We have found a new balance”, Markus Stock emphasises. “We have finally reconciled our vintage sound from the early days with the acoustic expression of the later Empyrium.”
Staying true to the Romantic tradition, Empyrium continue to take inspiration for their lyrical flights of fantasy from the local myths, ancient places, and natural wonders of the Rhön Mountains and their Lower Franconian homeland in the West of Germany. A circle is closing, and with Empyrium’s label Prophecy Productions, which were originally founded with the mission to release the band’s debut album, celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2021, it happens in more than one way.