ALBUM: Empress AD – Still Life Moving Fast ★★★★☆

Empress ADArtist: Empress AD

Album: Still Life Moving Fast

Release Date: 01/09/14

Label: Roadrunner Records


By now, the genre called ‘Metalcore’ has been repeated and developed an infinite amount of times, with new bands churning out the same ‘sing along chorus, heavy breakdown,repeat’ songs for what seems to be a life time. And it begs the question, what else can be done to make Metalcore new and interesting again?

Well, what happens if you add progressive rock influences? Who would even think of this ambitious concoction? They’re called Empress AD, and their debut album is titled ‘Still Life Moving Fast’. And the only question left to ask, does it work? The answer is an easy yes.

The album’s introduction is the perfect example of calm before the storm, building up before (Invisible Conductor) the first showcase of the punishing screams, and heavy riffs that are to be expected throughout the album. Unlike the stereotypical metal bands that want to hit as hard as they can from the off, Empress AD are anything but the stereotype with this impressive debut album, as they sit back with their carefully calculated interludes before their devastating moments that hit you with crippling affect.

In this day and age of music, where singles are incredibly important, the four piece prog-metallers seem to have created an album, which needs to be listened to in full. The album does feature some obvious stand out songs (Delve Into The Retrospect, Deeper In Disguise) but as individuals, they don’t have that same effect that they have when you listen to ‘Still Life Moving Fast’ from start to end.

The debut album could easily be conceived as a second or even third album from the British debutants, with the heavy/quiet parts of the songs structured to perfection, as they’re integrated precisely, displaying moments of ferocity and aggression that accompany the delicate melodies and Ollie Loring’s soft, soothing vocals seamlessly.

Although there is so much to praise from this debut album, it isn’t perfect. Empress AD’s love of taking a song past the four minute mark makes the album difficult to listen to at times, as your mind can switch off and the album becomes white noise in the background as you drift off further into your own imagination, only to be pulled back by an unexpected breakdown, or the silence between tracks. And there seems to be a never ending distance as the album reaches the end few songs, with only one or two really standing out (Blurred Perception, Consumed).
But as you reach the final track, a seven minute epic, you look back at the fresh, but yet familiar 45 minutes, and can’t help but expect bigger and better things from them, and eagerly anticipating what they can achieve next.

As a debut album that screams their influences of Pink Floyd and Mastodon proudly, Empress AD have set a huge benchmark for themselves, and no doubt their successors that will attempt to imitate. ‘Still Life Moving Fast’ is another successful step for Metalcore, and for British music.