All the Empires of the World
Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Kroner USER (29 Reviews)
March 6th, 2012 | 38 replies | 6,571 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Filler just got a lot more interesting.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

If last year's Return saw British experimental sludge act All the Empires of the World going for a completely balls-out approach to their signature sound, rife with frenzied screeches, city-flattening sludge riffs, and crushing crescendos, Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds sees them instead opting for a far more restrained take on everything that endeared the act so much to fans on their two previous albums and their four previous extended plays. It still carries over much of what made Blessings and Return such likeable and unique releases in the first place, maintaining the band's unusual combination of the organic builds so typical of post-metal and Godflesh-esque industrial atmospherics, yet instead of spending its entire runtime (which is the shortest of their full-lengths to this point) on elongated post-rock buildups and destructive finales, it utilizes half its length on more compact experimental pieces. In fact, out of its seven tracks, only two ('The Lion' and 'St. Peter') remotely resemble the bombastic devastation that one would expect from this type of music, the other five tracks ranging from pieces of pensive ambiance ('Demon Rises') to lo-fi acoustic recordings ('The Lovers') to even an eight-minute slab of more traditional post-rock ('Blood Sleeps').

The most fascinating thing about this, however, is the degree of success with which All the Empires of the World pull off this more restrained, ambient approach. If any number of other post-metal bands had attempted to put only two traditional tracks of sludge on a seven track album, the remainder of the release would have likely been written off as needless filler. True, it is possible that the band themselves conceived much of Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds' content in a way that one would conceive filler, as it has been merely a matter of months since they released the utterly devastating and meticulously crafted Return, but unlike other ambient interludes crafted by lesser acts, those of All the Empires of the World's latest defy common perception by being engaging and intriguing in a way that is exceedingly rare for this kind of music. Closer 'Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt' is a completely percussion-free odyssey of softly strummed chords, and instead of becoming tedious over its four-and-a-half minute length, its simplicity only serves to maximize its beauty, acting as a fantastically relaxing reprieve after the behemoth sludge track that preceded it, 'St. Peter'. Opener 'Demon Rises,' devoid of any instrument but a sparsely-used piano, is an uninterrupted four-minute slab of tension-building ambiance that is as masterfully crafted as the works of even the titans of ambient meandering, while the similar ambient interlude 'Upside Down Cross,' the shortest track on the album, manages to become one of the greatest works of the band's career even though it lacks any of what made their previous offerings such successes among the few fortunate enough to stumble across them.

However, All the Empires of the World have not completely diverged from their roots, as they still offer two ten-minute-plus behemoths of mechanically organic ambient sludge sandwiched between the album's multiple interludes. 'The Lion' is a breathtaking excursion of droning, distorted open chords steadily building into an immense wall of sound accentuated by sparse, Jesu-esque vocals and crushing beats courtesy of a Godflesh-style drum machine. 'St. Peter' bears a more than passing resemblance to the sound that defined Return, again bringing into play a lengthy buildup of open chords and acoustic guitars leading into a massive explosion of crushing guitar lines and tortured shrieks like those first utilized on the aforementioned album. All the Empires of the World, on 'Blood Sleeps,' even opt for a more typical post-rock song, built from weaving guitar lines, vague atmospherics, and repetition, all leading to an abruptly cut-off false climax. Unfortunately, the song represents one of Old Gods, Old Worlds, Old Wounds' weak spots. Instead of seamlessly flowing into one and other, the Explosions in the Sky-isms of this track seem forced, and the listener may feel that the length of the song could have been halved without any detriment to the music. Fortunately, it is the only major misstep on what is otherwise a largely triumphant experiment by a band that deserves far more recognition than they receive. In trading in immediacy and destructiveness for thoughtfulness and ambiance, populating an album with more ambient interludes than there are full songs, All the Empires of the World have accomplished the extremely difficult task of making something that could be called filler into music that is just as epic and engaging as that which their listeners are more accustomed to.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ignimbrite
March 6th 2012



5310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm now trying to fix the obvious coding errors, but half the juniors in my school are researching a history project and as such the internet here is being insufferably slow.

This is me trying to get back into the groove of reviewing music more regularly before things pick back up again. Please critique, and you should all get this album along with Return. They're both awesome and they're both free on the group's bandcamp. I mean, holy shit, this band deserves so much more attention.



Ignimbrite
March 6th 2012



5310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

http://alltheempiresoftheworld.bandcamp.com/

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this looks like something i might enjoy, pos

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

chambered69
March 6th 2012



1253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

ho


ly



fuck

chambered69
March 6th 2012



1253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

never heard of this band before but my god this is blowing me away

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

damn chambered you have me way stoked right now. i feel like a little kid again

chambered69
March 6th 2012



1253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

you like feeling kids?

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

by law i have to tell you that im a registered sex offender

chambered69
March 6th 2012



1253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

man this album is huge, enjoying my first listen

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whats it sound like bro, make me see it, im blind

chambered69
March 6th 2012



1253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

like looking out into a thunderstorm over a giant mountain range


prob a 3.5 i def need to listen to it more man

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that sounds fuking epic, i want, need this now

do you feel like coming?

BugZoid
March 6th 2012



331 Comments


Great review/ Very informative, as it touched on all the things I question about an album before I take a listen. I believe you've convinced me to look further into this.

CaptainDooRight
March 6th 2012



28664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^nice avi

iFghtffyrdmns
March 6th 2012



7047 Comments


in general, italicize Album Titles and single-quote 'Song Titles'

but solid review and congrats on the feature

Sevhead
March 6th 2012



569 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Glad to see there's a review for this

North0House2
March 6th 2012



5834 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

YEAAAAH someone reviewed this. Been jamming to these guys for a long time now. If you haven't, check out 'Return'. It's in the same vein as this, just a little more hard hitting. I swore they broke up, so I was surprised to see this guy drop.
I've been meaning to review it, I'm glad to see a good review up.

Digging: Amen Dunes - Love

SleepingGiant
March 6th 2012



130 Comments


must have

Ignimbrite
March 6th 2012



5310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

in general, italicize Album Titles and single-quote 'Song Titles'


will do, thanks. i don't like the way the underlines look, but it was the best way i could think of when i wrote this. your way makes much more sense.

seedofnothing
March 7th 2012



3425 Comments


i love the artwork on this album



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