Released only last week, Empires Of Light’s Sophomore album Abberations has come from out of the blue for me, without any real fanfare or fuss, and I struggle to reason why! Josh Riggs who hails from Portland, Oregon is another musical wizard, a conjurer of all things “post” related. His empyrean and interplanetary musical sorcery is of the finest you will hear within this genre. Highly technical, and multi-layered in both melody and drama, every track is a space odyssey that thunders through vast open skies and into ether space. Glorious, epic, but not forgetting, it packs one hell of a punch!
Pyroclast wastes no time in transporting you deep into the cosmos with a lush wall of synths and a barrage of crisp clean riffs that are steeped in melody and rousing lead solos, that glide and soar high above the incredible drumming of guest musician Robert Evraets Jr. Heavier moments are found orbiting around the intro of Entropic Disgregations, which ebbs and flows through moments of great ethereal heights, with powerful and electrifying up-tempo shredding and soft earthly acoustic recesses.
Tracks like Knife City bring thundering bass guitars and swirling lead guitars to the forefront and litter them with all these clever little shreds and jabbing riffs that whip the track up into a frenzy. The Lights Became Blood is a much calmer affair with its synthesised atmosphere and its 80’s vibe playing through it. The melody is rich and vibrant with multiple subtleties and nuances adorning every instrument. A second guest drummer, Tyler Jass adds so much to this track too, with his near acrobatic thrashings and his powerful execution.
Aberrations never takes a moment to breathe as it traverses and explores the very far reaches of experimental and instrumental metal. Each track shakes and shudders, bringing with it something new, even just the smallest of details, that makes all the difference. Mortar and Bone for instance, brings dual layered guitars along for the ride, that rebound and ignite off each other as they elevate and grow into the track. The synthesised harmonies and heavy rhythm guitars bring with them moments of God Is an Astronaut to the table, proving that Empires Of Light is doing something right!
Closing tracks always play a big part in an album, as they are responsible for leaving that aftertaste behind, that memory of what has just gone before it, and on this album, Abberations, that’s left to The Argonaut, and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, after many listens, it encompasses a lot of what is outstanding on this album. Crushing riffs, spiralling solos, crashing percussions and thundering bass all assemble to ignite the afterburners and send the music shuttling though the atmosphere and into a vast ocean of emptiness.
Empires Of Light, under the watchful eye of Josh Riggs, captures both the imagination and magic of instrumental music. Its absorbing from start to finish, and leaves your body and mind floating in interstellar space. Be sure to grab this on Bandcamp and support these incredible musicians.