A nice little EP that I found by exploring the artwork of Luke Oram who also did this cover. Empress are an unsigned Canadian doom band that often tread the line between black and death influences. It’s a pretty good mix of sounds for a debut EP. I’m expecting they’ll have a solid LP in no time.
It definitely starts with the promised doom but throughout the EP there’s so many shifts and it blends across so well that you barely notice. It hammers out some black metal tinged doom for a while and then relaxes into outright post-rock at times. They constructed the record well with a couple of longer songs and a few shorter ones. The bass opening for “Baptizer” is fantastic and it leads into some much thrashier tunes – at times an approximation of Mastodon. It pretty much plays the rest of the way out with cleaner prog tones and a lack of metal or fuzz, very much the Cold Dark Place EP side of Mastodon.
I wish it were a bit heavier, that’s my main criticism. It kind of peaked with a couple of cool ideas and then faded out for a while. I think they could have implemented the extreme metal styles really well into the rest of their structure to bring more of a punch. The end was pretty anticlimactic but It did blend oddly well back into it’s own beginning though.
The artwork is by Luke Oram who at this point literally has his own category in the archives here. A very talented and prolific artist based in the UK. He sent me some sketches of the original concept work for the album:
“For context, the multiple image was what I first produced, then the other is the final sketch before I began the main painting. They had quite a clear vision for the artwork, so for me it was mostly about trying to nail that tone.”
Stay tuned for interview with Luke in the future. It’s a nice style that adds a lot of presence to the band’s image. I want it on Cassette. There is a physical CD release available on the bandcamp but these guys aren’t signed so I’m not sure how limited they are. So if you want this art in your CD collection check it out.
I just saw they’re touring Australia right now which is awesome! (or it appears bandcamp has confused them with a Gold Coast band of the same name). I hope there’s a Brisbane date, or that I haven’t missed it because I’d like to see what they are doing in 2019. I’d recommend this to any metalheads looking for a more relaxed sound that easily repeats after the first listen. This is their debut from 2017 so they are still a very young band so I’m definitely invested.