Halphas – Dawn Of A Crimson Empire

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.facebook.com/Folter-Records-167406606752748/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: https://folterrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-a-crimson-empire
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/halphasofficial/

Band line-up:

Thurstan – Guitars
Avnas – Guitars
Forcas – Bass
Tempestas – Drums
Legatus – Vocals

Tracklisting:

1. Summoning
2. Call From The Depths
3. Through The Forest
4. Sword Of The Necromancer
5. FMD
6. Malice
7. Damnation Of The Weak
8. Empire

Review:

Halphas were formed in 2014 by Thurstan on guitars, Forcas on bass, Legatus on vocals and Tempestas on drums. The latter musician is also associated with the bands Nocturnal and Cross Vault. After getting together, the band started to work on their first tracks and in the following year, they released their three song demo. In 2016, Aynas completed the line-up. Fully formed, they then worked on the material of ‘Dawn of a Crimson Empire’, which was released through Foster Records. The vocal themes of the band aren’t so much satanic, but rather they are based on death, hate, pain, desires and the struggle for power.

Despite the at least kind of different subject matter of the words, things are very expected, here. It’s the kind of stuff all black metal fans will be familiar with. The harmony is always smart and certainly not limited to power chords, (though traditional metal riffs are perhaps sadly lacking) the bass lines are relatively inventive and the songs are structured well. However, there is barely anything about the band that is progressive. The main thing that did stand out as really cool, was the evil, siren like singing in the second track ‘Call From The Depths’. It was a huge disappointment that was the only track that had that kind of stuff in.

Thankfully, the cheesy growls in ‘Sword of the Necromancer’ also made just one appearance. They didn’t come across as scary, rather they seemed a little silly. They were also kind out of place, and didn’t fit with the music that preceded and followed it. Naturally you can expect a lunatic screaming his head off the rest of the time, just for a slightly different reason. On another note, at least you get a variety of tempos with these people; it’s not all 1000 miles per hour. That’s partly adventurous. The acoustic guitar playing in ‘Dawn of a Crimson Empire’ was more so with its nightmarish, dissonant notes, but again those more desirable, experimental ideas were just limited to one song.

In conclusion, if only the rarer parts of the music were more prominent, a lot of BM fans would be in (a weird kind of) Heaven, I’m sure. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. To be fair though, there are actually many positives about this album. It is written expertly and the musicians (especially the drummer) are all highly competent. If you’re new to this form of music, you can’t really go wrong here, but to BM veterans, the music will likely come across as very cliched in almost all areas.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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