Release Date: 09/10/2020
Its almost here, Empress’s debut full length release Premonition will be out on October 9th through Petrichor.
If you aren’t familiar with the band Empress hails from Vancouver B.C. and was founded in 2016. The band play a blend of sludgy doom and post metal fusion. This will be the band’s third release, but first full lenght album following an EP and a split release
. Empress is Chris Doyl on drums (Craters, Wisteria, ex-Chrononaut), Peter Sacco on guitars and vocals (Seer) and Brenden Gunn on bass (who tragically passed away while working on the album in October last year).
The band play a blend of music that relies in equal parts on heaviness and lightness, its a true dichotomy as sludge/post metal fusions always tend to be. Its the balancing act between filling space with heaviness and an excess of noise and leaving spaces blank or at least going for a minimalistic approach with the music being presented. It’s these lighter segments that really help to build the album’s atmosphere to a point where it becomes something impressive and unique and is able to truly rouse emotions in the listener. However, without the harsher segments to truly highlight the lighter parts, they wouldn’t have nearly the same effect as they do.
Vocals wise, Peter gives us a spread of styles on this release, ranging from clean doom style singing to more atmospheric and relaxed vocals, through to gruffer shouted vocals, as well as raw sludge style vocals. Its the variation between these styles and the fact that he is able to pair them to segments of music that best suit their use that makes them work so well on this album.
Guitar wise Peter gives us a spectacular amount of variation and puts forward some truly beautiful work. His doom/sludge segments are heavy and full of energy, hitting the mark perfectly. For me though its the more technical segments and the post metal segments that really make this album special. He creates some truly beautiful pieces of music on this release, with some truly impressive guitar segments. His tone and the resulting work that he puts forward are at many points dripping in atmopshere and emotion. Ultimately though its his ability to create such vastly different sounding sections of songs that makes the album such a captivating listen.
On drums Chris gives us a fantastic performance, being able to mix things up between heavier, more agressive drumming and light and airy atmopsheric work. He plays a crucial role in the overall sound of the release and without his work, the overall energy and amosphere would fall somewhat flat. You can’t have such impressive and diverse guitar work and vocals without a drummer of equal tallent to match what is being laid down and Chris easily meets the challenge.
The bass segments on the album are extremely impressive, with some even overshadowing the guitar work. It adds plenty of extra atmosphere to an album that is already fully saturated in it and really tops the whole album off.
The album comes in around the 50 minute mark, featuring 7 tracks, the majority of which fall between the 5 and 10 minute mark and the shortest still being over 4. These tracks are relatively standard in length for an album of this nature.
As far as favourite tracks go on the album, I would struggle to outright say which are the best because the whole album truly impressed me, but if I had to pick I would first off give credit to track 7 Lions Blood. The song is the longest on the album, almost 10 minutes in length and features the most powerful atmosphere on the release and has some serious Neurosis vibes to it. It perfectly blends the harsh and light elements of the album and creates something beautiful that lies between the two.
Track 4 Trost deserves special mention for some of the best bass work I’ve heard in a while, as well as some fantastic guitar work. Instrumental wise on the whole this is a truly impressive song. While the vocals aren’t as heavily present on this one, what is there is raw and full of emotion.
Track 2 is also a great listen, this one is much more of the heavier and sludgier side. There’s a real energy on this track, its fast and its angry. The vocals are powerful and dominate the song, backed up in force by the furious riffage that is being laid down. There’s a great blend of harsh sludge segments and rocking doom style segments, but the post rock elements are noticibly absent here.
The fact that I’ve picked these three in no way indicate that the other songs on the alabum aren’t worth your time. These three tracks just really happened to speak to me above the others. Luckily for you, two out of the three i selected happen to have been pre-released and are available for listening. But on the whole this is an album that you need to listen to in full, from start to finish and then maybe another two or three times. So carve an hour out of your day and give this bad boy a spin.
You can listen to the tracks that have already been released, as well as pre-order the album below before its Friday release: