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Empress: Reminiscence

Calling Vancouver outfit Empress a sludge band immediately paints this trio into a corner that they quickly do their utmost to force their way back out of. The band’s debut EP Reminiscence is undoubtedly a massive slap of sludge and yet it is also a huge bag of surprises. Opening with the suitably titled “The Offering”, a crazed melody quickly underpins the more anticipated guitar ructions. Welded onto a full force attack of both four and six string riffology and a pummelling pound from Chris Doyle behind the kit, the effect is violent, forceful and yet still controlled. A vocal roar from Peter Sacco completes an intentionally distorted picture, the guitarist matching the already impressive level of fretwork he displays.

“Immer” adds something a little more technical and something with just a little more light and shade. Brenden Gunn’s bass-work verging on playful, if no less lethal, while Sacco reins in the vocal aggression just a touch. With background voices wailing deep in the mix, a clever false crescendo that builds into something altogether more unbridled gives the greatest indication that Empress are not simply following long laid down rules with this debut.

Verging into extreme territory “Baptizer” is a palette cleanser that resets the ferocity levels, before “They Speak Like Trees” calms the nerves of those looking for more straight ahead sludge by being nine minutes plus of mainly instrumental grinding. Although again it has a flagrant melodic streak running right through it. “Dawn” closes proceedings, a gentle sheen of guitar noodling a disappointingly underwhelming way to end what has been quite a journey to here. For me Reminiscence could easily have survived on the near 25 minutes provided by the other four tracks alone, but it isn’t as though this one moment of meandering undoes all the excellent work that’s come before it.

It isn’t quite earthshaking, but Reminiscence is still an impressive introduction to a band who give the impression of being much more mature than their brief time together would suggest. Hopefully a full length effort won’t be too long in arriving.


Track Listing
1. The Offering
2. Immer
3. Baptizer
4. They Speak Like Trees
5. Dawn

Added: June 24th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Empress on Bandcamp
Hits: 299
Language: english

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