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Empire Auriga: Ascending the Solar Throne

The music on this album should sound best when it's on in the background, the music some of us need when studying, writing, or surfing the web. I say that, not because I want to ignore the music but because its purpose is not necessarily to grab my attention and refuse to let go. Ambient music—or in this case, dark ambient—is about weaving sounds in and out of my attention.

This album is darker than most ambient recordings I've heard lately, including those by bands within the metal community. Many of us were surprised by the latest release by Wolves in the Throne Room, another dark ambient album. Empire Auriga, unlike WITTR, started out experimenting with these sounds. Blending ambience with components of industrial music and black metal, Empire Auriga has long been seen as an important voice in exploring these new, and sometimes unexpected, sounds.

I was impressed with this album, but it took me a long time to get there. The problem, for me anyway, was that the music does not sit as well in the background as it should. I know that's a strange thing to say, but the ambient elements suggest that it could move in and out of my attention simply and quietly. As blended with industrial music and black metal, the material here seems slightly stuck in anticipation, as though it needs to resolve a dissonant interval or find the home key. Put another way, the music sometimes created an anxiety in me, one that I wanted resolved more quickly. Perhaps exploring dark soundscapes, including those that have an almost cosmic feel, should be a bit more intense, a bit more intrusive. Those who pick up this release should find something to enjoy here but it helps to know that this is darker, heavier stuff, than most ambient sound.

Track Listing:
1. Prophetic Light
2. Jubilee Warlord
3. The Solarthrone
4. Waste
5. Planetary Awakening
6. Are You Worthy of Gold?
7. The Foundation of All Human Fears
8. The Last Passage of Azon Grul

Added: October 18th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: band website
Hits: 1540
Language: english

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