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Interview

Empyrean Throne Strides Forward Into Chaos With New Symphonic Black Metal Album

You might recall the name Empyrean Throne from a Pit Story earlier this year all about the respecting the stage and the band's personal space while performing.

Fast forward a few months and this chaos-worshiping symphonic black metal horde has now released a devastating new album via rising star label M-Theory Audio.

With "Chaosborne" out now (grab your copy at Bandcamp here), we got in touch with vocalist Andrew Knudsen from this California crew to chat about signing record deals, recording albums, and a sad lack of metal venues.

Check out the full interview below, along with a smattering of music from the album, including some musings on that long-lost Dimmu Borgir album and the likes of Game Of Thrones (massive, world-shattering spoilers are found below if you aren't caught up with season 7) and indie Lovecraftian horror flicks.

xFiruath: I would bet you guys are pretty stoked to have the band's very first full-length album finally come out last week. Can you give me a run down on what all went into that process of getting this album put together, signing to a label, and finally seeing release?

Andrew: We are beyond excited! "Chaosborne" was, for some of the members of Empyrean Throne, a three-year endeavor. From the point of writing, to meeting Mick Kenney, finding M-Theory and Extreme Management Group, we had undergo many tribulations to see this album to fruition. That story in and of itself is the subject matter of an entire interview. I do want to focus my response on three key players: Mick Kenney, Mark Muller, and Marco Barieri.

Mick Kenney slaved away with us over this record and really helped bring our songs to life. He helped us forge the massive caldron of sound within Chaosborne, pushing us as artists along the way. Mark Muller, our faithful manager, was instrumental in helping us forge our alliance with our new label M-Theory, while helping us focus on “big picture” goals. He has helped us broker new partnerships and relationships that have helped us further advance Empyrean Throne.

Lastly, Marco Barbieri has give us a platform for us to share Chaosborne with the world, and in doing so helped us focus on getting our name out to the masses. Marco has already helped us secure support slots on high profile shows in addition to guiding us into this new era of Empyrean Throne. His experience in the industry is second to none. All three of these remarkable and talented individuals have helped us get to where we are today. We cannot thank them enough for their support and hard work.

xFiruath: Tell me about the composition of the album – is this mostly new tracks or previously released single material?

Andrew: "Chaosborne" is entirely comprised of new music. It is a vast expansion of our sound in previous releases such as our "Demonseed" EP and tells a new story and concept entirely. We have matured as musicians and grown as a band. "Chaosborne" reflects these truths. We have further defined our message and how we present them to the audience, be it through the CD or on the live front. The story elements alone are much more vast in scale than our previous work, focusing on a lone Templar Knight who becomes an agent of Chaos while embattled against malign alien deities. "Chaosborne" is a titan of a record that makes a bold statement about what Empyrean Throne is: an order of chaos-worshiping maniacs hell bent on spreading our message of liberation by way of sonic assault.

xFiruath: On the sound front, who would you describe Empyrean Throne to someone who had never heard the band?

Andrew: A common term would be symphonic black metal, however, even that description doesn’t do justice to our overall sound. Yes, those elements are present within our music, but like the many heads of a raging hydra there is more at work. We have death metal venom flowing throughout our sound along with some progressive and folk elements. It’s not your typical recipe. We like operating outside the box and fusing new ideas with the DNA of many elements from across the musical spectrum, extreme metal or otherwise.

xFiruath: Who put together the cover artwork and how does it connect to the lyrical themes on the album?

Andrew: The cover art was executed by Ukrainian artist, Vladislav Kutusov. He did an amazing job on the piece. The cover art itself is basically the summation of the whole with regards to the story within the album. It depicts the main character, a former Templar named Mathias, how has, through the power of Chaos, ascended to become a demigod. He has achieved and unlocked the apex of that which Chaos Gnostic circles call the Inner Flame. Its power is both awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time. The cover art also depicts violence and warfare, both representing key elements of the story as well.

xFiruath: You guys released a full video for “Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam” just a few weeks ago. How did the filming go and what did you think of the finished product?

Andrew: Production was an intense yet smooth process overall. Matt Zane did a fantastic job on the execution of the piece and made sure that we in film terms “made the day.” That way, when it came time to edit the video, my job as the editor was fairly easy. We covered everything that we set out to do which gave me options to work within post. The fight sequences in the desert were actually shot a year or so back for our cover of Behemoth’s “Ov Fire and the Void.” However, we chose to pursue a different route with that project which ultimately led us to using those original combat sequences for “Sed Nomini.” Everything came together really well. We couldn’t be happier with the final outcome.

xFiruath: What's on the horizon for the band now that the album is out – new tour dates or is more material in the works?

Andrew: We are looking into touring options. We will be doing a couple short regional runs later this year, which will include the band’s first appearance in Texas. 2018 will hopefully consist of heavy touring. We do have new material in the works; however, they are mostly raw ideas that haven’t been flushed out yet. We do have the concept for the next record in place.

xFiruath: What's going on in your local metal scene and what venues are best for the heavy crowd?

Andrew: The problem with the current local scene is that performance-oriented venues are closing, The Complex in Glendale being the most recent victim. This creates a problem for us especially, due to the fact that if a venue doesn’t have an actual stage to fit the band, we either cannot perform or we have to scale back major elements of our show. We don’t like doing this, so when one of these places shuts down it is a major bummer. I’m sure the genesis of this is a multifaceted issue, but that’s a conversation for another time.

However, on the positive side, there are a lot of talented bands making a statement in our local area. Two that come to mind are our good friends, Voices Of Ruin, and our label comrades, Sicarius. Both groups deliver impressive performances and write some truly heavy music. More importantly, both bands are comprised of good people whom we are able to call close friends. Both groups are definitely worth checking out.

xFiruath: Season 7 Game Of Thrones you guys – anybody else glad to finally see some flaming dragon action? Action predictions for the final episode and who will die at the end?

Andrew: SPOILERS! Ha, yeah, it’s no secret we’re GOT fans! Well, with the higher production budget, the show runners, DB Weiss and David Benoiff, have definitely ramped up the battle/action sequences. It’s been a fun season with a crazy character death toll. It’s hard to say who will be killed at the end of this current season and who will be left to carry on for the final season. I’m always wrong in my Game Of Thrones predictions. I do think that both Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister are going to make it. Dany just lost a dragon, so the jury is still out on everyone else.

xFiruath: On the Lovecraftian side, did you guys catch that indie flick The Void, and if so what did you think?

Andrew: My girlfriend and I saw The Void a couple nights ago. The picture was initially intriguing because of the involvement with the same producers who did The Witch. The Lovecraft / John Carpenter’s The Thing elements looked cool so we gave it a go. Unfortunately, the movie fell very flat with us due to a lack of character development, an over bloated plot, and campy dialogue. The script should have cut some of the unnecessary plot elements and narrowed its focus. Most of the dialogue (as with many cases) was completely expendable. Shame, really, the movie had a good idea, it just suffered from a poor execution.

xFiruath: So, that rumored but never seen new Dimmu Borgir album – any guesses if it will ever see the light of day after seven years of waiting, or has anyone in the band given up on caring?

Andrew: I can’t speak for Dimmu, but they certainly have been busy. If I had to wager a guess, they might be gearing up for a 2018 spring release followed by some sort of world tour. Difficult to say. They’ve been quiet for some time sure, but I’d never assume that they don’t care or are giving up in any fashion. They are the biggest symphonic black metal act in the world after all.

xFiruath: Other than your own album, what have you been jamming to most lately that you'd recommend to our readers?

Andrew: Right now I’m listening to a lot of non-metal stuff, mostly the various podcasts and philosophy lectures that I’m into. However, I’m definitely spinning the DOOM and Mad Max soundtracks, Powerwolf, and Anal Nathrakh to break things up.

xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to add?

Andrew: Chaosborne is here! The Nexion is open! We can finally bring you this titanic offering that we have had to keep caged for so long. The wait is finally over and the great devouring mark of Chaos is loose. If you have yet to experience Chaosborne, please check out our bandcamp link below. Again, we want to thank everyone who pre-ordered the record and have supported the release thus far. We look forward to seeing you at our next live Omega Ritualis! INTO CHAOS. TOWARDS THE BEYOND. EVER VIGILANT!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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