This is the CD version of Into the Pantheon, which is a live concert recording. There is also a DVD/BD available, and if there is a choice, I recommend getting the video because a live performance is usually 50% audio and 50% visual when it comes to the experience. As good as the audio is, you obviously get much more if you have the visual portion as well. The concert was recorded live at Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT) on June 11, 2011, so it isn’t exactly new. According to the information that I have, this was the band’s first actual live performance. Given that, it’s a very good concert. The sound, of course, is stellar. The songs range from early Folk/atmospheric Black Metal-era material to their more recent Neo-Folk sound. The older material has been reworked so that it fits the band’s current direction, though to be fair, it didn’t need much reworking. Empyrium has always had more of a Neo-Folk/Dark Ambient style to begin with, so their transition from Metal to Neo-Folk wasn’t that big of a stretch. Initially sounding a lot like old Ulver, mostly from the Kveldssanger and Bergtatt period, the newer work is more in the vein of other bands like Sol Invictus, Din Brad (ex-Negura Bunget) and The Soil Bleeds Black. If you’re into the Neo-Folk or a longtime fan of the band, this is well worth checking out. They even play two new tracks here, “The Days Before the Fall” and “Dead Winter Ways,” both of which are solid incentives for interested folks to pick this up. I’ve been a fan of Empyrium since their 1996 debut album, A Wintersunset… and I really enjoyed the audio portion of this. I’m definitely going to pick up the video version, because as much as I like the audio, I still feel as though there’s something missing each time I listen to it.
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