29 Sep 2022
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Empire To Ashes - Album Review: Trinity: Complete

14 Dec 2018 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

The final instalment from Auckland based alternative-electronica project Empire To Ashes (Jamie Denton), has just been released. It is an amalgamation of the three previous albums, [In Pieces], Deconstructed [Between The Pieces] and Beneath to create one new, cohesive piece of experimental, electro-drone, alternative-electronica soundscapes and tracks titled Trinity: Complete.

As with his other three albums in this series, there is layering of sounds and linking of tracks to create an eerie, atmospheric tone which evokes a build-up of almost nervous suspense, not dissimilar from that feeling you get just before an axe falls in a horror movie. Jamie is extremely skilled at gradually building up and layering sounds. Each track feels like a journey. The ECG monitor ever present eluding to an outer body journey or perhaps the final hours before the veil of darkness descends indefinitely.

Impressive strategically placed sampling throughout each track adds to the mysterious mood.

As with the other albums in this project, Trinity: Complete has an element of mystery and drama. It is a beautifully composed unique form of musical art.

This is not an album or indeed a series of albums you can lightly skip through. This is music you can feel. It makes you think and may even cause an emotional response. It is not for the faint hearted and probably not well suited in a bar situation if all you want to do is sit and drink, have a bit of a listen and a boogie. This lends itself to lying down on the floor in a dark room with your eyes shut and absorbing the sound. Or some sort of chill out room, if they are still a thing these days.

Intense, intelligent lyrics and remastering. No bubble-gum pop or musical candy floss.

Track one Epoch 7 (A. } / B. Enola) fades in with the beeping of a heart monitor signalling the beginning of the album or is it the beginning of the end?.

It certainly seems like you get your money’s worth on this album, eight substantial tracks. Epoch 8 (A. My Own Phantom / B. Lamination) however exceeded my expectations and came to its completion at 11.00. Waves overlap with meaningful lyrics; “Pulls me under again, and again. I will never know where you finish, and I begin”. Synth harmoniously complemented with eerie wind whispering through the trees the ominous squawk of a crow. This was an intense eleven minutes of music and musings.

The profoundly deep Epoch 1 (A. { / B. Initium) is full of medical terminology and scientific references. Robotic sounding voices combined with stunning ultra-low bass tones. Plenty to test your brain and soul's endurance on. Rain and thunder escort you through to the ending minutes of the track.

It feels when you progress through Trinity: Complete, each track almost takes a breath in the middle before continuing onto the next phase. Like a pause between sentences. A slight breath of suspense. Once I really absorbed the track listing and names, I realised that this is in fact exactly what it was, three parts of a whole.

Epoch 4 (A. < ! -- -- ! > / B.Beneath The Artifice Of Dreams / C. Ecstasy Of Sleep (Dreaming Pt. 2)) is as extraordinary as it sounds. You float away in a hypnagogic state, on a wave of clever mixing. Enveloped in an 80's style drum and bass beat which is infused with static. This track is as long as the impressive sounding title at over 20 minutes run time.

Heading towards the final tracks on the album, Epoch 5 (A . I / B Too Human (Pandora’s Hope)) is a dark heavy soundscape of poetic lyrics built from true emotion.

And here we end up “after an eternity in fluorescent purgatory”, at Epoch 6 (A. Everlasting (End?) / B. Hospicetality). This feels and sounds like an ending. Or perhaps it’s the start of a whole new chapter. At 6 minutes and forty-nine seconds, the heart monitor stops. “After months drifting in the endless abyss, the shadows breathed. I am so glad you came home”. This is a culmination of exceptional writing, synth and bassy undertones building to a crescendo over the lyrics. Medical references tying the two tracks together as one. “Drifting away, welcome back to where you belong”.

And so, as we come to the completion of this Empire To Ashes Journey, perhaps reflect on the powerful emotional arrangements, delivered with a touch of drama and bucket loads of emotion. If you have been with Jamie since the beginning of this project than you will understand a previous quote of mine describing his music as a surreal journey into your psyche.

This is a series of incredibly well thought out albums and editing processes eluding to places in your mind few would have the courage to vocalise or visualise.

“My promise to you, hand in broken hand…hand in broken hand”. ECG heart monitor beeps.

Fade to black.

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

Releases

[in pieces]
Year: 2018
Type: Album
beneath
Year: 2018
Type: Album
trinity:complete
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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