Empires
Through Trial and Tribulation Comes Triumph

I’ve never really been too into instrumental music, with a passing, fleeting interest in the likes of Tides, Pelican, Red Sparowes and such. The last instrumental album I really got into was The Autumn Project’s The Burning Light, on Deepsend Records. Ironically, this album was supposed to be released on Deepsend Records, but instead got released on the band’s home state label, Saw Her Ghost Records, and is the first instrumental album I’ve really enjoyed since The Burning Light.

The first point of reference musically I heard right away was Battlefields mixed with Withered’s first album, Memento Mori, as Empires mix a mid range form of heaving sludge and post rock but without the black metal element. Replace the black metal with some doomy melancholy and throw in some glacial sized riffs and grooves with a production that’s Sunlight Studios hum meets Sanford Parker (Rwake, Minsk, etc) buzz, and you get an instrumental album that never feels like a instrumental album. In fact, if this had vocals, it would have made it a fucking incredible album, but as it stands it’s a damn fine instrumental album in its own right.

Less epic and atmospheric and more concentrated and direct, Empires never drag on or draw out with songs that range from 6-9 minutes and rarely spend several minutes building or setting the mood (though “Our Mother” does have some short opening acoustics), but rather dive straight into thick, earthy riffs flocked with strains of doomy melody and layering. Look no further than the moody mid song peak of opener “Mourning the Arrival of the Sun”, the opening riff of “Sickly Brown Sky” or dense title track for that very slight Stockholm influence amid the cascades of expected Isis/Neurosis ebbs and crescendo’s (“Climbing Towards the Infinite”, “Patience in the Tide”, “Our Mother”).

Ultimately, Through Trial and Tribulation Comes Triumph, is the perfect blend of crushing beauty and eloquent density that makes an album I normally wouldn’t like into something rather special and different amid my usual fare of blastbeats, breakdowns and reeeee vocals.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 31st, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: BLOODGOAT

    Fucking GOOD album. I sent $10 to SHG for a copy of Flight of the Jesus Dog’s album, “Untitled,” (also fucking GOOD) and in return, expecting only that album, I was greeted with 10 different albums from their label, Through Trial and Tribulation Comes Triumph being among them.

    This album was definitely a great surprise; the emotion-driven leads just beg you to keep listening. Reminiscent of a slightly less depressing/dreary DOOM:VS, imo. Many people say they think it would be better with vocals, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Excellent album. Perfect how it is.


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