Without a doubt this demo is one of the most difficult recordings I have had to review for some time. The reason is Dead Empires play such a diverse range of styles from sludge metal, stoner, progressive rock and elements of thrash-metal but they don't stick to any of these genres for long on any of these 4 tracks. While the sludge and post-rock elements are here, they don't rely on dark atmospheres or down-tuned guitars and yet sound pretty heavy anyway. As with any instrumental band, the lack of vocals means the music better be damn good and it is but it wasn't what I expected as some of this is pretty fast, no sign of plodding rhythms but there is some serious grooves. The strength of the band comes from making heavy music without any down-tuned guitars, without morbid and blackened atmosphere, it is pure heavy music devoid of any of the clichés usually associated with post-rock, sludge-metal, doom-metal acts. The dexterity the musicians in the band display over the course of the 4 tracks is exciting without being too complex or pompous. There is also a strong emphasis on great songwriting and memorable musical passages that gets stuck in your head instantly.
Their approach is just dudes getting together and simply playing without any preconceived musical concept in mind, it sounds honest and rather unhinged. The prog tendencies come and go as does the odd hardcore thrash element but comparing them with anyone is pretty difficult but the likes of Kylesa and Mastodon are probably the closest reference points I can think of. Fans of High On Fire might appreciate some of the adrenaline-pumping metallic attacks while sludge fans should find something to like with some of their crusty intensity but 'Dead Empires' really don't sound like any of these bands mentioned. This is a great demo from a band that for once doesn't really have the usual trademarks of any genre except it kicks ass. Check them out......8/10
Dead Empires @ Myspace