The Three Flames Sapphire” is the opener of „Über den Sternen“ and was actually the last song that was composed for this album. It features many an element that Empyrium has always been known for and creates a great opening to the album by evoking a central mood. I really think this song has the Empyrium DNA imprinted deeply in its very core: The acoustic instruments, the folkloristic vibe, vocals by both Thomas and myself, harsh screams and electric guitars, the yearning melancholy of the multi harmonic lead guitars and lyrically a folk tale of our home region Rhön that is both – incredibly beautiful and tragic. Proud to present this song alongside the video clip created by Oliver König who masterfully understood to bring to life the tragic tale of the three will o’ the wisps haunting the black moor in images that are Empyrium in their very core. Three blue flames hovering over the moor at night that are the cursed souls of three beautiful, young maiden that now shall haunt your soul… – Markus “Schwadorf” Stock. With their sixth full-length, “Über den Sternen”, an allegorical German rendering of their band name meaning “Above the Stars”, EMPYRIUM continue to draw from the magic and spirits of wild places, nature's beauty, and human relics of ages long past. “Über den Sternen” echoes this reconciliation of the old with the new on a musical level as well. The Franconian duo has brought the power of electric guitars and even those harsh vocals back, which marked their early works and stood strong upon the band's melodic black metal foundations. Yet EMPYRIUM also keep the dark folk style, which the Germans had progressively leaned towards with their later albums.
What used to appear as a fork in their musical development has now merged into one breath-taking sound. The combined force of mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, clean and extreme vocalist as well as producer Markus “Schwadorf” Stock and classical singer Thomas Helm, who lends his amazing voice also to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, is painting a radiant sonic picture. It comes with the melancholic grounding of the sophomore album “Songs of Moors & Misty Fields” (1997), adds brushstrokes of the fairy-tale tempera colours of “Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays” (1999), yet also uses hues from the selection on the DEAD CAN DANCE infused folk-palette that EMPYRIUM previously employed on “The Turn of the Tides” (2014). The crowning varnish is diligently crafted from rougher elements that reach all the way back to the Germans' legendary debut ” A Wintersunset…” (1996). “We have found a new balance”, Markus Stock emphasises. “We have finally reconciled our vintage sound from the early days with the acoustic expression of the later EMPYRIUM.”
Staying true to the Romantic tradition, EMPYRIUM continue to take inspiration for their lyrical flights of fantasy from the local myths, ancient places, and natural wonders of the Rhön Mountains and their Lower Franconian homeland in the West of Germany. A circle is closing, and with EMPYRIUM's label Prophecy Productions, which were originally founded with the mission to release the band's debut album, celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2021, it happens in more than one way.