I loved 2014’s Hyperion, which was one of my favourite releases of that year. Last year the band released the experimental electronically-slanted Alma | Batica, which I also really enjoyed. It’s great to finally have a new full length from the band though, one which offers us their rich use of guitars once more.
Ohhh, but it’s really good to hear Dirge in full swing again. Heavy, atmospheric riffs and fully-formed soundscapes are created with ease, as the band craft seven tracks of immersive and utterly compelling music.
There’s a rich melodic seam being mined in dirge’s music, but one that’s fully embedded in the overall musical architecture, rather than sticking out too much and sounding out of place from the rest of the forlorn, despondent music. It’s a holistic package, of course, and the songs are very well-written, paced, and structured. Everything has its place, whether it’s a wall of crushing guitars, an introspective lighter section, a surge of electronics, or a percussion-heavy section that pounds deep into your soul.
The vocals are as well-performed as everything else here, running the range from forceful roars to ethereal-yet-earthy cleans, with a variety in between. These are not designed to stand out, however, as they are in many bands. Rather, Dirge use vocals like any other instrument, subsumed into the whole, pressed into the service of delivering emotion, and not given any special treatment. This approach works very well.
The entire album flows seamlessly from one track to the next, and even though each song is its own discrete entity, it gives the feeling of being one long continuous piece of work. Heavily atmospheric and hypnotically mesmeric, this is an album that is easy to become fully absorbed in.
Lost Empyrean is a journey filled with strong emotion and substantive depth, and it’s heartening that Dirge are more than up to the task of pulling off such an ambitious and irresistible piece of work like this.