Wednesday 2 October 2019

Chernaa - Empyrean Fire

Labels: Noizr Productions
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 07 Jun 2019


1. Pink Powder
2. Ominous
3. Alice Syndrome
4. As I Succumbed
5. Mania
6. Camus
7. Discrepancy

My mood isn't great this evening, so hopefully the solace that I get from listening to music will help. As I eluded to a few reviews back, there's so much I have to catch up on and this debut release from Czech post-black metal Chernaa has been sat in my inbox for a while (sorry guys). "Empyrean Fire" was released digitally and on CD via Noizr Productions in June. I've been staring at that mesmerising cover-art for too long, so let's not waste any more time.

Chernaa used album opener Pink Powder as their first single, which was released prior to the full album. It’s a strong song to announce your introduction with, as it’s pummelling percussion, impressive guitar work (from both the bass and the guitars) and the icy shrieks take hold. The whole production and mastering has been delivered with detail in mind and as a result, the music is crisp and powerful. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of polish. Despite its title, Ominous is not actually ominous (sorry). It continues the momentum that was gathered by Pink Powder and adds in plenty more lovely musical textures. There are classy synth touches during the instrumental sections here and it all just works so well. Listenability is something that is sometimes difficult to strive for but Chernaa achieves it here.

By the time Alice Syndrome whirrs into life (if your anything like me), you’ll be in a more reflective state. It must be something to do with the treble-laden guitar riffs. It’s not all laid-back fluffy clouds though, as Chernaa’s black metal isn’t far away and continues to add heaviness to the record. It’s bloody good black metal it has to be said! The post-rock well and truly flows during the beautifully executed As I Succumbed. It’s almost sludge/doom-like atmosphere and riffs become truly emotive, as they extract the same reaction from the listener (I almost lost composure at this point). The clean vocals are perfectly at home here as well. 

From there, Mania is a much more upbeat experience with a tempo that’s as catchy as the melody it shares the recording with. Even the harsh vocals do little to shake off that feeling, as they’re slightly buried within the other elements here. That’s actually quite a masterstroke, as it allows some relief from the extremity for a time, while not losing any of Chernaa’s character in the process.  All of the songs on “Empyrean Fire” are more than just mere three-minute throwaways. They wash over you with such confidence and ease that it’s hard to believe that this is that band’s first release. Penultimate song Camus reiterates that point perfectly, with a juxtaposition of extremity and subtle melody that is more pronounced than you think during the verses, but that takes on a life of its own when allowed to breath.

It’s left to final track Discrepancy to resolutely underline how good this album is, and boy does it do it. 2019 continues to surprise and amaze musically, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better debut album this year. Chernaa is very much a band to watch. Despite the undertones on offer, their future looks very bright. 

You can stream "Empyrean Fire" and purchase in digitally and on CD below:-

Noizr Productions -

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