Shade Empire - Poetry Of The Ill-Minded album review

Finnish orchestral metallers dial down the extremity

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Depending on your bloodthirst for the extreme end of symphonic metal, Shade Empire’s follow-up to their 2014 opus, Omega Arcane, will either be a tasty development or a potential disappointment. Their last album was monolithic, hitting a rampaging stride that outdid Dimmu Borgir in the epic stakes. On the plus side, there’s sign of progression. The once thunderous orchestral parts now focus more neatly on the string section. They’ve also toned down the histrionics, diluting their black metal stride. Clean singing on Lecter and the appearance of jazzy trumpets on Wanderer and Thy Scent move Shade Empire closer to Ne Obliviscaris territory while still retaining elements of Septicflesh and Swallow The Sun. The most epic moment happens on Anti-Life Saviour, combining string-laden intensity with apocalyptic unholy growls, and while production values are second to none, Poetry Of The Ill-Minded comes with a caveat: it’s not the marauding, nihilistic, blastbeat-splattered inferno of its predecessor and if they believe that less is more they might be missing a trick.