Wednesday 10 January 2018

Empress - Reminiscence (EP Review)

Release date: February 12th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Reminiscence – Tracklisting

1.The Offering
4.They Speak Like Trees


Peter Sacco: Guitars/vox
Brenden Gunn: Bass
Chris Doyle: Drums


Empress is a new Sludge/Doom Power Trio who takes influence from bands such as CONAN, Pelican and early-Baroness. Their debut EP, Reminiscence has its fair share of loud sludgy moments and post-rock interludes with the band always evolving their sound on the EP.

Opening track - The Offering, is a psychedelic little number with Empress playing a full on Sludge Rock/Doom Metal track. This has an early Baroness style aggressive melody before the post-hardcore sounds merge as one with the hardcore growls with lead singer, Peter staying mightily angry throughout. The music is quite complex and groove based at times. You wouldn't think from this opening track that the band would adopt a more Post-Rock/Post-Metal sound.

Second track - Immer - is the first of two epic tracks with this song running over eight minutes. This song has Empress play an upbeat psychedelic post-rock/stoner/sludgy sound with a ferocious vibe that allows Empress to control the aggression of the music more naturally. There are subtle hints held within the song in what musical direction Empress takes on the second half of the song. The bluntness and aggression we've heard so far is replaced by a more ambient, uplifting and post-rock atmosphere. The vocals remain harsh but it's the music that's the most impressive. A daring style of Post-Rock and gloomy Sludge Rock/Metal sound leave you wanting more.

Third track - Baptize - opens with punk sounding bass lines before Empress return with a harsh and heavy doom metal offering. It's a more direct song with the music perhaps offering the heaviest parts on the EP and that is despite the short running time of less than three minutes.

Fourth track - They Speak Like Trees - is the second epic song and perhaps the best song on the EP. Empress starts to assure themselves more confidently. The music and vocals have a more world-weary feel with the Post-Metal/Sludge Metal dynamic working together than against each other. The band plays a more lucid style of psychedelic music at times. The whole mood of the song can be very chaotic but Empress manages to impress with their progressive and experimental style of Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal sounds.

The final song - Dawn - is more an ambient post-rock song with Empress leaving the heavy sounds behind and creating a lush psychedelic dream-like atmosphere. Reminiscence is a welcome distraction from the normal Sludge/Post-Metal bands out there. As Empress create individual songs with their own identities to each other.

The EP can be brutally loud at times but also superbly reflective and quiet as heard on the final song. I expect we haven't heard or witnessed the full range of sounds that Empress actually possesses. It may take a few more releases such as another EP or full length album before we begin to see the "real" Empress.

Until then, Reminiscence remains a beautifully played and violent delight with enough Sludge/Post-Metal riffs to keep you superbly entertained for a long time to come.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Peter from the band for the promo. Reminiscence is available to buy on DD from February 12th 2018.


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