In a bygone era around the turn of the century Ulf Theodor Schwadorf led Empyrium from its initial forest roots to an even more melancholic path that pretty much stripped it bare of any metallic alloys.
Still a metalhead at heart, those influences could not be kept at bay indefinitely, but were rather channeled to another project where he could unleash the most sinister, raw black he could conjure up. Unfortunately, apart from 2 EPS and a split not much was heard of this endeavor afterwards as the more extreme end of his creative output was to be spellbound to The Vision Bleak instead. Great was my surprise recently to hear that Sun of the Sleepless was resurrected and a new album in the works. ‘To the Elements’ Starts out full of melancholy in a way that would easily fit on an Empyrium record, until the second track kicks in in all its Transylvanian hunger, relentlessly devouring all light with razor shards of ice cold riffs and blizzard blasts. It does not let up until the apocalyptic folk tale of ‘Forest Crown’ which bleeds mercilessly into an almost Darkthronesque frenzy on the following song. “Phoenix Rise” closes the record on a particular epic high worthy of anything Winterfylleth could conjure up. Together with Pillorian’s debut, you’re not likely to find any finer displays of the black arts so far this year.
1. The Burden
3. The Owl
4. Where in My Childhood Lived a Witch
5. Forest Crown
6. In the Realm of the Bark
7. Phoenix Rise