19 Feb 2020

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Empire To Ashes - Album Review: Beneath

15 Nov 2018 // A review by Carl Hayman

A few of you may have heard the name Jamie Denton from some of NZ’s most powerful underground rock bands from the last 15 to 20 years. Jamie has always laid down the heavy hitting basslines for rock bands ranging in genre from dark moody metal-based bands, to straight up radio rock, to borderline punk. Naquadah, Ishtar and Poison Skies are amongst those bands. After the semi-permanent hiatus of Poison Skies in late 2016 Jamie sought to put a different spin on his music and show that he is much, much more than just a bass player. He has a huge amount of skill in production, songwriting, and even as an engineer. I can’t help but feel that the name Empire To Ashes really tells the story of that moment when each of his bands, which all reached fantastic levels, decided to call it a day.

When I got the opportunity to review one of the new Empire To Ashes albums, it intrigued the hell out of me. I haven’t heard much of Jamie’s solo digital work, but I’ve seen his video editing skills, so I was expecting something big, and to set the tone, he’s hit the nail on the head.

I’ll use one word to sum up the Empire To Ashes album Beneath, and that word is ‘Lugubrious’. Here are some insights; melancholic, woeful, forlorn, despondent, solemn, grim, and I guess that’s the feeling I take from Beneath. There is no two-ways about it, this is an album that has taken Jamie a long time to musically construct a percussive feeling, and the result is absolutely mind-blowing. Don’t be expecting a happy, upbeat, pop tune here, expect a world of darkness that closes in on you as you listen, but inspires thought, and creates mental space.

I am probably reading into it far too much, but after having listened to every song back-to-back over a few glasses of rum, this album actually had the opposite effect on me that I thought it would. I thought the dark, slow tempo, no drumbeat, percussive sound of his tracks would leave me in a dark and moody place, but it didn’t at all, it left me thinking about my own well-being, and my life, and the emotions that have taken place over many years of my life through thick and thin, highs and lows, and where I am today. I hope that’s what Jamie intended when he put pen to paper on these tunes, but with music, the best thing is, there is no right and wrong. Each to their own, and this is the outcome of Empire To Ashes expression of artistic release.

Quite simply, this is brilliant. One man writing every line from the drum beat, to the melody line, to the samples, the effects, mixed brilliantly, and with such perfection. You can tell the man behind the computer is clearly a talented musician with many years under his belt.

My favourite tune would have to be Theodicy: The Problem Of Pain. This tune speaks to me from a level that one would only know of from having spent years alongside somebody in physical or mental pain and the problems that manifest from it. You get lost in the drum beat once you start listening to the lyrics ‘begging for you to be its slave, lies designed to make you stay’ you can almost feel your body start to ache and hurt as much as you can imagine the writer himself trying desperately to escape the clutches of pain and beckoning not to give in.

Beneath is very left-field to my normal listening and review genres and it took me hours to describe this album. However, If you listen to this album, I think every single one of us can genuinely understand the pain, the struggles, the triumphs and the genuine truth that lies within Beneath. I would highly recommend giving yourself the time to listen to this journey from start to finish. Amazing work from Empire To Ashes.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Empire To Ashes

Empire To Ashes is a New Zealand based dark ambient / alternative / electronica / post-rock project, bearing jagged pieces of a ragged soul for your consumption.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Empire To Ashes


[in pieces]
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Year: 2018
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Carl Hayman

The Lost Boys - Single Review: Hook, Line And Sinker
08 Oct 2019 // by Carl Hayman
I was absolutely gutted this morning to see two of my favourite bands are coming to NZ this December while I'm out of the country; Bad Religion and Frenzal Rhomb. I started hunting through playlists on Spotify and ended up listening to some of my favourite Kiwi punk/pop/rock acts from years gone by.
Ginzu and the Steak Knives - Single/Video Review: Edge Of The Universe
18 Sep 2019 // by Carl Hayman
This morning I got the pleasure of being one of the very first people to see the latest release from Ginzu and the Steak Knives – Edge Of The Universe. The second that you see a guy tied up on a chair inside a Pentacle, you know you are in for a treat.
Glow Becky - Single Review: Fade Back
10 Sep 2019 // by Carl Hayman
For the last couple of years, a previous bandmate and good friend Nate has been telling me about this awesome rock band called Glow Becky that I have to hear. The team at Muzic.
Iveta & Simone - Single Review: L.O.V.E
16 Jul 2019 // by Carl Hayman
Iveta & Simone have just dropped their hot new single L.O.
Lakius - Single Review: Student Of Fools
24 May 2019 // by Carl Hayman
I haven’t reviewed anything heavy for a while, so I was pretty lucky to get handed the brand new single by Lakius. Broken Season has been one of my favourite Kiwi heavy (very heavy) rock/metal acts for ages, and Lakius is the sequel born from what Broken Season used to be.
Jason McIver Collective - Single Review: We Change
23 May 2019 // by Carl Hayman
I’ve been following The Jason McIver Collective for a few years now; I met Jason a few years ago at one of my own gigs, and then had the privilege of reviewing another project of his If He Dies He Dies, then got finally got to see him play solo at the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge last year. This latest release from The JMC is titled We Change and it’s a bloody solid tune.
Lee Martin - EP Review: Lost Girl
06 May 2019 // by Carl Hayman
This morning I had the privilege of being one of the first to hear Lee Martin’s brand new EP Lost Girl.For those of you who know my tastes in music, this is a little bit removed from my normal mixtape of rock, pop, and classics, and to do a review on something more folk influenced is quite a pleasure.
Hault - EP Review: Brother
19 Feb 2019 // by Carl Hayman
The new EP from Hault, Brother, kicks off with a massive amount of energy! Track one Red Dress is all about distorted gats, over a fast, thick drum line at something like 180BPM which just oozes that thrashy feel that all of us rock fans love.
View All Articles By Carl Hayman

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Roddy Ricch
    Dua Lipa
    The Weeknd
    Tones And I
    Justin Bieber
    Justin Bieber feat. Quavo
    Lewis Capaldi
    Eminem feat. Juice WRLD
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem