Album Review: Empress – Premonition (Petrichor)

Once you have taken a dive in the vast ocean of sludge/post-metal/doom bands you know there is an endless incoming tide of quality bands. Empress hailing from Vancouver B.C. and founded in 2016, are no exception to that rule. Adding a progressive touch to their monumental sound Empress manage to succeed in creating a quite unique blend of their own. After releasing an EP and a split EP the band started working on their full length debut ‘Premonition’.

Sadly in October 2019 the band struck by tragedy with the passing of bassist Brenden Gunn. Determined to carry on the other two members of the band finished the album and also made sure that it would be a fitting tribute to their lost brother. ‘Premonition’ will be out in October 9th 2020 and available on vinyl, cd, tape and digital.

We were massive fans of Empress’ 2018 release, Reminisce (you can read that review here). Now, on the one hand it’s simply wonderful to have this debut album but on the other, with the passing of bassist Brenden Gunn, it’s going to be an emotional affair.

Even before the bands style of post/sludge rings out loudly and effectively on A Pale Wanderer. A track that takes the listener on a poignant journey and shows just how strong this band are at what they do.

As a tribute to a lost brother, you feel it in every single note. In every single melodious lull, every filthy riff and every fuzzy bit of groove. It makes the energy, bassy halt and slow, sludgy eruption of Sepulchre very special and it makes the booming rhythm and guitar wizardry of Passage very special

Chances are, you’ll be completely lost with Empress’ Premonition at this stage. Yet, the best is still to come.

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Trost is one such best, kicking off hard with a flurry of post-metal meatiness before descending abruptly into calming near-silence and into super-chill melodies. Hiraeth arrives next and takes its time building up a dreamy soundscape before unleashing a torrent of sludgy-post noise to dampen the spirits.

The title track is the penultimate offering and has Empress delivering a simply phenomenal and thrilling showcase of how beautiful and emotional their music can be. More than any other track, which is saying a lot, it’s the one that will make you feel.

It almost makes it impossible for Lion’s Blood to follow that but this is Empress we’re talking about and what we get is a finale that is more than worthy. A colossal and utterly draining finish but in the best way possible.

Thank you Empress. Thank you Brenden Gunn.

Empress – Premonition Full Track Listing:

1. A Pale Wanderer
2. Sepulchre
3. Passage
4. Trost
5. Hiraeth
6. Premonition
7. Lion’s Blood


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Empress - Premonition (Petrichor)
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