Last year, Mystras released one of the finest debuts of recent memory with the brilliant «Castles Conquered and Reclaimed». The band’s motto of “medieval black metal against empire and aristocracy” came thus reflected by dealing with peasant uprisings. A year after, the band has announced «Empires Vanquished and Dismantled», which deals with medieval imperialism. As the press release explains, “the central point of the album consists of the first two metal songs, «On The Promise Of Angels» and the 14-minute epic «The Fall Of The Kingdom Of Jerusalem», both thematically dealing with the Crusades as the progenitor of the European colonialism of the 15th century: the first song tells about the successful conquest of Jerusalem, while the second narrates the history of its loss in the hands of Saladin.” The monument that is that 14-minute epic can already be heard below, accompanied by the album’s gorgeous album cover, courtesy of Loukas Kalliantasis, who had already crafted the cover piece of the band’s debut.
The press release goes on to explain that there had to be “a song centred around the premises of the Byzantine Empire, and in fact «The Favor Of The Saints» deals with the successful Bulgarian uprising lead by Peter and Asen in the 12th century, one of the major blows which lead to the weakening and eventual dissolution of the Empire.” Moreover, one should expect an album with a higher “focus and effort” into the folk tracks, which were “produced with the help of six session musicians,” namely Stamatis Zafeiropoulos on the Turkish ney, Matthew Dakoutros on violin, Dimitris Corax Avgoustinos on percussion, Nina Saeidi and Carling Chiu on vocals, and Crasse from Toul en Ihuern on the santoor. In fact, these folk tracks include covers “of Arabic, Byzantine and German tunes as well as the original drone piece «Cheragheh Zolmezalem (Oppression’s Fire)», written on Persian and Arabic modes.”
Months before the announcement, an advance track had been unveiled to the world through the Antifascist Black Metal Network. The song is titled «To The Builders!» and its last verses, which you can find below just before the video, are rather explicit on its intent.
To no nation or religion do these stones belong
To no leader or tyrant do these stories belong
Even if by gold and whip they directed their hands
They are forever owned by everyone that’s toiled and sweat
And now that our turn has come
Think about what will our story be and what we’ll leave behind
Is it just words and shattered dreams, or is it towers high and mighty
If we’ll build ours with our choice, plan and desire
Or with gold and whip the masters again will guide our toil
«Empires Vanquished and Dismantled» is set for release on November 5 through I, Voidhanger and Stellar Auditorium on cd, digital, and vinyl formats. Pre-orders can be found here (cd and digital) and here (digital and vinyl).