Empyreal Vault

Empyreal Vault

EMPYREAL VAULT is a rising Tech-Death band based out of France. They recently released their debut self-titled album. Metal Temple writer Jack Harding recently had a chance to talk to the band, and explore their new sound.
By Jack Harding
October 2, 2019
Empyreal Vault interview
Thank you for taking the time out of your day for this interview. It is always a great honour to talk to passionate musicians such as you. How are you today, with your debut record is finally out and in the wild?

Hi ! First of all, thank you for this itw, it's always a pleasure to talk about our stuff. Indeed, the album is out ! We're very excited and ready to perform our first gigs supporting it. We play it all live from start to finish, and it feels great to unleash it on stage.

The name "Empyreal Vault" really appeals to me. The contrast between the divine and heavenly, with the locked away, secretive underground vault sparks incredibly vivid images. Why did you decide on this name, and do you think it accurately represents your sound?

I remember the brainstorming session for the band's name as being quite intense. We took a long time finding a good name for this project. We gathered with Sylvain (Gtr), Jordy (Vocals) and myself (Sylver, Gtr) at a bar and started throwing some ideas for the concept. In fact, Jordy and Sylvain have worked together in Exocrine for a long time and have always made concept albums. First was the idea of a forest, some shamanic stuff, magic, an avatar invocation, etc… So we came up with the name that way : gathering the several elements of the concept.

Empyreal Vault is built up of members of two excellent bands (Exocrine and Death Lab) in their own rights. Why start up this project when such great projects still exist and are writing new material?

Myself (Sylver) and Sylvain became friend some time ago and have always wanted to make music together since. We were always busy with our own tech-death projects, but after the writing process of the 3rd Exocrine album, Sylvain was in the vibe for this new project and needed some variety. We aimed for less technical stuff, Sylvain wanted to take hands on the production and create something massive with the songs. Big projects like Exocrine require more discipline and doing stuff in advance (like 6-10 months before sometimes!), so a side project is a good thing to have if you want to keep yourself busy with music.

How did the band originally form?

Ourselves, all the guys in the band, we were already friends and knew each other in the scene here in Bordeaux, France. Jordy (Vocals) had already play with our drummer PJ in a previous band. PJ wanted a more professional project, with attention to details in the song writing, good overall DIY management of the band, and he found that when joining the project last.

Online it is stated that you locked yourselves away for 6 months to write this album, before performing any shows. Why did you make this decision?

Sylvain was the main composer on this album. I brought him some riffs to broader the band's toolbox and he crafted entire songs with some of those and some of his own, achieving more richness with both styles of riffing. 6 months was a long time spent on writing + mixing/mastering, the later being Sylvain's own and quite daunting task. He choose to work that way, finishing the all writing and mixing in a long single-trait. It's a very dedicated way to work, but also effective when willing to maintain the full "vibe" of the album.

Looking back, would you still make the same decision if you were starting the band now?

As a matter of fact, we don't always have the luxury to choose when we'll be available aside from our main projects. Release dates are often set for Exocrine future albums, and everything Empyreal Vault as to go in between. Nothing is decided yet as for the way we'll organize the next writing process. I guess we made the more informed decision we could with all the elements and resources available to us at the time.

When writing the album, were there any artists you had on repeat for inspiration? What albums could this record not have been made without?

Mmm, that's a tough one. This album was written in 2018 and we were listening to all kind of releases from that year, without them significantly influencing the writing for the most part. Our sound merges several influences from the Tech-death genre and the deathcore genre, prog-stuff also, and I don't think it can be summed-up as a single record from the outside world influencing us. That being said, we did LOVE the last Soreption album .

You are using 7 string guitars for this record, what attracted you to extended range instruments?

Personally, I've always being more of a 6-string guys, and I specifically bought a 7 string for this project. On the other-hand, Sylvain has been attracted to extended-range guitars for a long time. I can name the first "Animals as Leaders" album as an instant motivation for him to get an 8 string at the time.

The album art, wonderfully designed by Bastien JEZ, is a sight to behold. Would you say this is an accurate image to summarise the band? When you listen to your music, are these the images conjured by your imagination?

Yes, exactly! As I've said before when talking about the band's name : we exposed the components of the lyrical concept to Bastien Jez, and he wonderfully represented the invocation of the avatar, with the forest-vibe and all of it. As a result, I think the artwork represents perfectly the album's ambience and vibe, but also the lyrical-concept.

How does writing for Empyreal Vault differ to writing for your other bands?

When we started the project, we wanted to mutualize the writing process. Sylvain was already busy being the main composer in Exocrine, he didn't want the same load of work for this side project. So some of the songs use guitar ideas from both of us, as we gathered to search some stuff together, and that is the main difference with our other projects: the process was not being 100% alone in front of your DAW. it is very different, it's good to experience both in one's musical life.

What one record do you wish that you had written?

Mmm, I was impressed by a lot of album in my life as a fan of death metal and tech-stuff. I'm often even more impressed when the songwriters were young AF when releasing it. Cosmogenesis from Obscura is a good example of that, very mature music with still young members. I guess others music is their own, maybe I wish a started music earlier and released some of my own stuff 10 years before, hehe.

What was your favourite release of 2019 been so far?

Sylver : I loved Abyssal by Humanity's Last Breath
PJ : Alien by Northlane
Jordy : God Hand by Brand of Sacrifice and Hell by Tyr (I can't decide!)
Sylvain : Ashley O

Thank you ever so much for your time, and good luck with whatever comes next!

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