As if to confirm black metal's seemingly endless sphere of influence, along comes this relatively new American outfit Empire Auriga who eagerly pick up the torch and demonstrate a willingness to expand upon the boundaries of the genre on their debut Auriga Dying.
A piercing wail of an air raid siren on the opening track "Time Expanding" gives way to a steady, funeral like drum march that collides headlong amidst vague industrial treatments, effectively signifying the beginning of your tour of their post apocalyptical wasteland. While "Time Expanding" adequately sets the mood, the next song "Sorrowsong" successfully takes things to the next level exploding in a layered wash of dissonant guitar, with an even greater focus this time around on punishing, slow and deliberate industrial style percussion. Clocking in at a shade over nine minutes this track certainly takes it's time to unfold completely but the end result is well worth the wait. "Dreaming of Breath and Stars" is where the duo (that's Boethius on communications and 90000065B in charge of transmissions) slowly begin to move away from the typical harsh black metal-isms and into a darker and distinctly more ambient realm.
While the industrial influence remains a constant thread throughout Auriga Dying, tracks such as "The Lurker", the closing masterpiece "Dust & Either" and the deeply emotive instrumental (aren't all these tracks primarily instrumentals?) "Soul Interrupt", showcases their own unique sound that goes a long way towards setting them apart from their contemporaries, as they successfully incorporate and add various different musical styles into their sonic arsenal. One can clearly hear the influence of not only black metal, industrial and ambient music but also elements of shoegazer as well, a style that seems to be crossing over into drone, doom and yes even black metal with more frequency these days.
Auriga Dying takes neither the bludgeoning, abrasive, straight ahead approach or the cold, desolate, atmospheric route commonly employed by the majority of black metal acts, instead finding it's own way which ends up somewhere in the middle. Kudos should go to these guys for helping move the genre further along with this impressive and bleak vision of the future. It might not appeal to the traditionalists but nevertheless it should stand out amongst the crowd in the long run.
1) Time Expanding
3) Dreaming of Breath and Stars
4) The Lurker
5) Waiting For The Fall
6) Soul Interrupt
7) Dust & Ether