As album titles go, Sunscraper sets the bar pretty high. But there’s no need to worry – this is an album that totally succeeds where Icarus failed. It is, in a word, massive. And in a few more words it’s euphoric, symphonic, sublime and ridiculous. It goes where few albums would dare to tread; a masterpiece of doom metal that effortlessly plumbs earthly depths and scales celestial heights. It’s emotionally powerful too: by far and away the most vocal-centric Empires album yet, it expresses both desperation in the face of eternity and immense joy in love and human kindness.
Musically, it’s the most diverse All the Empires Of The World album to date. It begins in near silence, swelling from synth led ambience to crunching guitar to folk harmonies. The first half of New Alexandria romps along at a rollicking pace befitting of that punk rock we hear so much about nowadays. Fortress opens with a chug every bit as satisfying as anything by early Pelican, defying you not to nod your head and screw your face. And closer Low Devil shows that singing plus acoustic guitar doesn’t necessarily add up to insipid mobile phone advert fodder, being as it is a desperately haunting and totally disarming country-blues number. A stunning album.
- 1. Sunscraper (5.51)
- 2. Through the Forest, to the Shore (7.24)
- 3. Fortress (6.36)
- 4. New Alexandria (7.09)
- 5. Sundown (7.30)
- 6. Low Devil (3.02)