All the Empires of the World
Return


4.5
superb

Review

by Ryan Kroner USER (29 Reviews)
February 26th, 2012 | 27 replies | 4,609 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grandiosity redefined.

In what was arguably an incredibly mediocre year for post-metal as a whole, the genre's domineering release was, unfortunately, heard of by few and actually listened to by fewer. Return, the sophomore full-length of British ambient sludge act All the Empires of the World, truly is an enigma. Seemingly released out of nowhere by a band that not many knew of to begin with, it was met with very little fanfare, existing only as a free digital download on the label's website and the group's Bandcamp. This lack of recognition is an utter travesty, for in a year with so little proficient post-metal to latch on to, Return satisfies in utterly every way imaginable. Over five tracks and 54 minutes of slowed-to-a-crawl, highly atmospheric sludge, this album spans more territory than anyone else in the genre has for quite a long time.

This is not, in any sense of the word, a truly easy listen. Opener Kings Approach clocks in at a hefty 17 minutes, with vocals only coming into the mix in the fourteenth minute. God Has a Plan for Me is five minutes of directionless acoustic meandering, while closer Why Have You Summoned Me? gives the first two thirds of its duration to am ambient build before the long-awaited climax comes in. But for those lucky few with the patience and attention spans to sit through Return, it will be a trip well worth taking. The atmosphere that All the Empires of the World are able to conjure is nothing short of magnificent: an immense, desolate soundscape of gaping sonic abysses, towering peaks, and soul-crushing riffs that never ceases to engage the listener even in its most subdued moments. It is a fierce dichotomy of peace and unfiltered chaos and obliteration, the peace taking the form of lengthy passages of ambiance and the chaos incarnating itself as an absolutely caustic frenzy of variable-tempo riffs accentuated by tortured, aimless shrieks (Return represents the band's first use of vocals, and it works better than anyone could have ever hoped).

If Blessings was an incredibly organic montage of beautiful climaxes and calming atmosphere, Return, while being very similar in a multitude of aspects, is its antithesis. Open tunings previously used to lift one's soul are now used to mercilessly crush it, spaces of atmospheric meanderings now build tension as opposed to relaxing the listener, and the inclusion of a Godflesh-style drum machine only accentuates the darkness of this album. Everything, from the destructive final minutes of Kings Approach to the more-than-welcome tempo changes of We Rest in the Valley to the brooding open-tuning strummings of God Has a Plan for me, proves All the Empires of the World to be a trio of truly brilliant musicians. The pure grandeur of Return only makes the lack of recognition it's received that much more injust, but not all is yet lost. Do yourself a favor and listen to the most epic, grandiose, crushing, and atmospheric post-metal album of 2011. The near-hour you spend doing so will assuredly breeze by, leaving you wondering afterward how you ever could have missed something like this.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ignimbrite
February 25th 2012


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

http://alltheempiresoftheworld.bandcamp.com/

I've been meaning to write this for quite a while, and the completely out-of-nowhere release of Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds motivated me to finally write it. It's not the best I've ever done, but hey.

Album rules hard.

Tyrannic
February 25th 2012


3262 Comments


"Opener Kinds Approach clocks in at a hefty 17 minutes,"

other than that nice review

Ignimbrite
February 25th 2012


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

crap, thanks

CaptainDooRight
February 26th 2012


29097 Comments


looks interesting will check

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

Ignimbrite
February 26th 2012


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

bumping b/c wtf only 3 ratings

cb123
February 26th 2012


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got this waiting in my iTunes for me, loved blessings

North0House2
March 7th 2012


5856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Awesome man, this was reviewed too? Thank goodness. These guys are quickly becoming my favorite band. EASILY my favorite release of the past year.

Digging: This Will Destroy You - Another Language

North0House2
March 7th 2012


5856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Also, this is nitpicking, but "Return represents the band's first use of vocals, and it works better than anyone could have ever hoped"

The band included some subtle vocals on [I Perceive Your Resonance] on 'Blessings'

Ignimbrite
March 23rd 2012


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this still only has 4 ratings

why

saris340
April 5th 2012


34 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album blew my mind.

666Micrograms
January 20th 2013


923 Comments


gettin this fo sho

Shuyin
February 10th 2013


11602 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

slowly becoming one of my favorite bands

Digging: Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain

PortalofPerfection
February 10th 2013


475 Comments


Neurosis and CoL generally bore the crap out of me, any reason to believe this wouldn't?...

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

Ignimbrite
February 10th 2013


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's free so it really can't hurt to listen to a song or two and judge for yourself. That being said, you probably won't like it as much as the average Neurosis enthusiast.

Shuyin
February 17th 2013


11602 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the climax on Kings Approach... so good..

solongatlast
February 18th 2013


194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wait this has five tracks? The fifth one isn't on bandcamp...



Ignimbrite
February 18th 2013


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Get it from here instead.

http://recordsonribs.com/artists/alltheempiresoftheworld/return/

solongatlast
February 18th 2013


194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool thanks. It's on last.fm too but the quality isn't the greatest.

Shuyin
April 15th 2013


11602 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

weird, i got the album from bandcamp and it had all 5 tracks

Shuyin
May 3rd 2013


11602 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

IMA 5 THIS SHIT



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