29 Sep 2020
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Empire To Ashes - Album Review: Sequence Two: Our Secret, Silent Storms

11 Nov 2019 // A review by Ben Ruegg
I remember it vividly. I woke up on the ground, face down, looking directly under my dresser. I’m not making this up. How I got there, I sort of remember. I was in the bath, in hot water, and then all of a sudden the YouTube video I was watching spoke to me, directly, like a premonition of my imminent death. I got up, grabbed the towel and was walking to my bedroom, pacing, my heart racing. And then I woke up, on the ground, my head throbbing, my lip bleeding. A bump on my head. I must have passed out. From a panic attack.

I get these every so often. And while you might be wondering why I am talking about this during a review, I am actually talking about the new album from Empire To Ashes.


Throughout this dark ambient, swelling and building album called Sequence 2: Our Secret, Silent Storms, people are talking about their own issues with panic attacks. If you haven’t had one, then this album will do a damn good job of letting you in on our problems with them. The ongoing, non-stop, sound of a storm brews right from the get-go. Each track is driven by a drone but one that definitely adds to the overall atmosphere of what Jamie is going for. Tracks like Remember To Breathe develop and build into so much of how I feel when I am in that moment of panic. It is haunting yet so refreshing to hear someone try and capture what it is like. Each track focuses on a particular vibe. Remember To Breathe focuses on developing and building up the guitar, all the while the synths sway in and out.

The amount of detail given to each track gets revealed more and more each time you listen to it. This is not an album that you skip through tracks. No. Treat it like a movie. Go for a run or a bike ride and listen to the entire thing (maybe miss the last track if you are riding a bike!)

What I liked so much about this album was that I was reminded that music is subjective and dependent on the listener. What I mean is, some will hear this album and be all like ‘what the hell was that?’. Others will hear it as a musical picture, a sonic landscape. And that is the beauty of what Empire Of Ashes does with this work of art; it’s a study into panic attacks and what it is like to experience them. Through the album, poetry drives the narrative. Along with the developing motifs and sounds, each track adds to the one before. In Exhausted (I Collapse Into Your Arms) there is a nasty sounding synth that just sounds dreadful, but it’s used in the right way to add to the story. It must have taken a while to get this all sorted.

Overall, Empire To Ashes is not for everyone. If you like disposable pop with catchy melodies and throw away lyrics, you are probably better to stray clear of this. However, if you are interested in finding out how music can paint deep and thoughtful pictures to capture feelings and emotions that you cannot necessarily express through words, then I recommend you give this one a whirl. Get on some headphones, turn the lights out and sit back and soak it all in. Get to know what it’s like to wake up on the floor and wondering exactly how that happened.

Rating: ( 4 / 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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