Empires Laid Waste: With the Tide Comes Destruction

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Empires Laid Waste: With the Tide Comes Destruction
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Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Self-release
2012
Release length: 26:55
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Australia’s own Melodic Death Metal/Thrash Metal act Empires Laid Waste return with their independently released EP, With the Tide Comes Destruction. This recording follows up their 2011 debut full-length album The Age of Decay, another self-released effort. The band formed back in 2008, and since then hasn’t gone through any major line-up changes, but has seen some rather positive feedback towards their material. As far as this EP goes, however, not much has been said. Is this a sign of a poor offering, or is With the Tide Comes Destruction a greatly overlooked underground Metal gem?

Unfortunately, the audio isn’t quite that great, but since it’s a band funded venture it’s kind of expected, but not to this extent. While the music doesn’t sound horrible, it does end up losing much of its bite because of it. The audio has a bit of a muffled sound to it that does hold things back a bit. The guitars have less of an impact thanks to the lighter tone that they and everything else comes through with, but the bass still does a decent enough of a job to drive the rhythm home while still loud enough to stick out amid the other chords here and there, especially on “With the Tides Comes Destruction.” The snares sound a somewhat hollow but very tight, and the cymbals are pretty crisp as well, while the bass kicks have a nice click to them that, sadly, is a bit buried behind the louder guitars and the equally podded snares. Vocally, the approach is more of a typical growl that comes through pretty clearly, though it has a nice range. The only fault here is that they can be drowned out by the music much like the aforementioned kicks.

If you can look past the faults of the audio quality, you’ll still find some impressive material. Sadly, those faults do make it hard to bang your head along to the six tracks that make up this EP, even when you know you damn well should be doing so in the first place. “Banished in the Wasteland” finds a bit of a departure from the group’s Melodic Death Metal and Thrash Metal sound, focusing more on a traditional Death Metal push with pounding snares and charging chords. The guitar solos bring in some melodic, darker atmospheres, which are quite beneficial to the release, especially when it starts to reach the climax and the richness dulls to slower, yet deeper riffs with even more attitude behind them. This one does have plenty of passages that would make your neck muscles work in overtime, but only a few end up infectious enough to find them moving involuntarily. “Closer the End” finds the simpler material at work again, but leaves the commanding sound behind for some really catchy material at a slower pace, establishing a dismal and melancholic tone to the track right away. Again, guitar solos are abound throughout, and many really suit the song quite well on an emotional level. This allows the vocals and bass kicks to come through a lot better, and some passages to sound a lot richer, as well as make a stronger impact to get you instinctively headbanging along through most of it.

While those two are good examples of what Empires Laid Waste can bring to the table, not all the songs on here are that engaging. “Our Betrayors” isn’t a bad track overall, but due to the audio quality it doesn’t hit the way it should. The slower paced song starts with some simpler Melodic Death Metal styled riffs that do pick up in intensity, but none of it really stands out. Instead, it largely feels like material you’ve heard before on this release, or even in previous entries to the in general. The first breakdown does have a nice kick to it, but as you progress towards the end you reach a second one, and the song slows even more, trying to bring that melancholic atmosphere back, but instead just offers up bland and uninspiring music that you will end up losing interest in rather quickly. “Quaken the Earth” will have the same impact on you, though it does end up a little more complex here and there. The pace ends up mixed between a similar slower speed and a mid-tempo, as well as tries to incorporate a glorious vibe during some of the solos, largely near the half-way point. There’s more energy captured in the vocals, and sprinkled about in the rest of the instruments. But, the weaker audio quality, among the many simply unimpressive passages and rather boring simplistic chords and drum patterns ends up leaving it another somewhat unenjoyable offering that had plenty of potential going in.

Sadly, With the Tide Comes Destruction ends up a mixed bag of material. While it does have some pretty strong offerings you can headbang to, there’s many here that simply cannot get that same reaction, or just sound incredibly lackluster and overly simplistic to the point where it seems even the band members playing the material are kind of bored from it. Overall, it isn’t a bad experience, but definitely doesn’t show Empires Laid Waste putting their best foot forward. There’s some potential here, and with a stronger, richer audio quality, there’s no denying the group has the potential to put out something a little stronger and catchier than this. However, until the band brings a little more complexity into the atmospheres they want to work with, chances are good they’ll negatively stay hidden among the shadows of the underground for quite some time.

01. With the Tides Comes Destruction – 4:50
02. Banished to the Wasteland – 2:45
03. Closer the End – 5:09
04. Home Like Hell – 3:55
05. Our Betrayors – 4:35
06. Quaken the Earth – 5:19
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Empires Laid Waste (Band)
Empires Laid Waste (Logo)
Physical review copy of this release provided by Empires Laid Waste via Clawhammer PR.