On their heady modern sludge metal debut Vancouver’s Empress cull influence from decades of sludge and rock experimentation into a half hour EP of heavier-than-thou highs and mellowed out lows. Their sound deftly skids between post-rock influenced atmospheric doom metal to Torche-like bass driven sludge rock. The powerful duo of “Immer” and “Baptizer” speak to those Pelican-ized stoner rock fueled moments but carry increasingly aggressive tone as the EP progresses towards “They Speak Like Trees”, a huge stand-out track that delivers a moderately-rocked respite in it’s second half. At their softest, Empress briefly revive that same anxiously chilled vibe of Isis‘ underrated ‘In the Absence of Truth’ and carry it into modern post-rock extremes. The balance of aggro shouting with alternative/heavy rock groove should remind the listener that slow-motion stoner sludge is at its best writing songs and not just Amenra-ing around in circles.
I wouldn’t imply that Empress have excess gaudy post-metal sparkle on tap across the length of ‘Reminiscence’ but their sound is equidistantly shouted from Minsk‘s dark mood as it is from Floor‘s bouncy inebriation. That middle ground is pretty sweet as far as my ears are concerned and the thick and wavy bass tone on this record is remarkably listenable in tandem with the shimmery gloom of it all. Though I figure sludge metal is tonally more poignant with all grating edges left in tact, the shaved-smooth sound of ‘Reminiscence’ doesn’t hurt at all. Probably the best sludge-related release of the month right behind Beldam. Greatly looking forward to hearing what the band will do when they record a full-length.
|Released||February 12, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Empress on Facebook|
Sludge Metal, Post-Metal
Those without a light. 4.0/5.0
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