The Ottoman Empire>>LUNA MORTIS - USA

The Absence - 2009 - Century Media

S= A Touch Of Evil>>MARY ZIMMER>>White Empress, Santa Marta, Helion Prime
G= BRIAN KOENIG>>Lords Of The Trident – Structure Of Inhumanity, Second Soul, Epicurean, Casket Robbery>>CORY SCHEIDER>>Casket Robbery, Epicurean, Structure Of Inhumanity, Second Soul, Mercy Isle
D= Erebus>>ERIK MADSEN>>Erebus

Brian Koenig and bassist Nick Conti formed The Ottoman Empire in Madison, Wisconsin in 2001 and changed monickers 7 years later. The band had signed to Century Media with the new name and issued its debut in 2009. The Ottoman Empire had a very early demo called Twice following which it lost guitarist Todd Olson. A new line-up issued Curse Of The Sun in 2004. The group recruited Frank Grullon on lead guitar in 2005. The band is now a quintet.2007 brought Way Of The Blade. A final demo, under the old monicker, was 2008’s The Answer: Does Not Exist. The band was interviewed on a local Wisconsin TV program. The group was announced as the openers for Edguy’s 2009 US and Canadian tour. The album was not issued in Europe. Luna Mortis was duly dropped by Century Media in late 2009. Despite the lack of tour support the band was still booked to open for Primal Fear in the USA in May. Nevertheless, after being dropped by Century Media Luna Mortis called it a day in February 2010. The band had vowed to carry on and was, in fact, due to tour the USA with Primal Fear in May 2009. The band threw in the towel early in 2010, but re-appeared in 2013 promising shows and records only to duly disappear again after two shows. Zimmer later joined Helion Prime.


Way Of The Blade is a professionally put-together package that has taken two years to reach Metallian Towers. Consequently, several members of the Metallian Royal Couriers are no longer on this mortal coil. The disc itself comprises ten tracks of top-notch power metal with a presentation and sound to match. It is amazing how irrelevant record companies are these days. Bands should recognize this and position their products and music not as a means of reaching recording companies, but as the end i.e. a way of reaching their potential fans and launching and furthering their careers. Adorned with an Oriental font type and similar imagery, The Ottoman Empire (“the empire reigns in its full glory”) is a complex and technical metal band that belies its claim to be 'progressive thrash metal.' Frankly, there is little here that is either progressive or thrashy. Instead, the band uses a variety of sounds to showcase its substantial capabilities and song writing and instrumentation skills. Anemic World begins the disc with the kind of galloping riffs that made Iced Earth famous, which might explain the 'thrash metal' reference, while One If By Sea copies Helloween. The title track has clear musical references to Excess, but this might be coincidental whereas the other references might not be. Of note, also are the Rush references in both patterns and drumming. The guitars, rhythms, solos and all are exceptional. All in all, an accomplished feast of metallic styles on a surprising CD from an even more surprising location, the backwaters of Wisconsin. The vocals, however, are not on par with the music. Vocalist Mary Zimmer does well to sell one on her sexuality. She is capable and focused, but her clean vocals which comprise the majority of her singing, are flat at the higher range. This is her signature style, which is analogous to Rob Lowe of Solitude Aeternus albeit with much less mysticism. Work is needed here. She even reminds one of the weak Francine Boucher of Echoes Of Eternity. She has much more bite, attitude and gusto with her scarcely used snarl. On that note, the spoken word at the end of the album sounds cheesy and has to go. The band does not have a real website so go to the teenybopper world at or write to - Ali “The Metallian”

Emerging out of the improbable Madison, Wisconsin (and I seriously thought this was shaken-not-stirred Europe until I checked out the band’s site), Luna Mortis has perfected the art of traditional metal done right, the group’s dual-lead leads and traditional gallops seemingly re-tooled until only the top-tier is what remains on record. Here’s the catch, though: Luna Mortis combines said traditional watersheds with death moments and a sense of dashing trash, resulting in an amalgam that is seriously dynamic, spirited and full of anthemic quality. Finely treading its traditional/death dual identity, Luna Mortis usurps the pathetic irony of thrash revivalists and instead offers a modern sounding record that genuinely uses the past to build its this-decade vision, but offers enough deviation and killer song-writing to keep things interesting and inspiring to the end. - David Perri


Luna Mortis