Empyreal Cycle

Empyreal Cycle is the second self-released effort from Slovenia’s Smargroth, a fantasy based (knights, dragons, wizards etc) melodic black metal band. And while they aren’t bringing anything really striking or new to the table, they perform their chosen style well enough to be checked out by fans of Dissection, Sargeist, Naglfar and other less extreme black metal acts that have a more melodic structure and delivery.

With a crystal clear production (that’s very impressive for an Eastern European self-released effort) and chock full of melodic tremolo picked riffs, Smargroth aren’t going to be invited the the Black Circle any time soon, but they are energetic and competent, if slightly derivative. They won’t stand out from other like minded hordes, but they certainly have a likeable sound that keeps me listening whenever they pop up on my iPod’s shuffle mode.

Opener “Celestial Epitome” is pretty much all you need to sample when trying to figure out if you will like Smargroth or not. Blistering high octane riffs dripping with epic melodies and rasps. The rest of the album rarely deviates, but is still enjoyable with the likes of “Emerging Misery”, “The Anvil of Fate”  and “Sublime Awakening”  but a few moments such as female vocals (“Lamenting the Fallen”, ), atmospheric acoustics  and synths (“The Illusion of Hope”, “The Last Illumination”) or mid paced, sterner marches (“Awe”) show that Smargroth can do just enough to keep you interested, but they are fairly rare. A few more moments of ambition would have made the album stand out a little more. Personally, I could see this band benefiting from full time synths to complement their sound and themes and taking their sound to a more epic next level as “The Last Illumination” hints at.

Still, Samrgroth isn’t a band I’ll be actively searching out, I will certainly  welcome future releases in my mailbox.




[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 29th, 2012


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I like this a lot, it has that Naglfar/Sacramentum sound, but you’re right, some symphonics and more songwriting variance could turn this into another epic Stormlord-like band. Need a new Stormlord btw!

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