It’s hard to deny that Empirion have developed a massive cult following within the Industrial scene, especially in their homeland of right here in the UK. On nights out, it’s quite likely that you’ve heard one of their tunes blasting out of the speakers as DJs spin the decks, with classics like “Narcotic Influence” pretty much becoming a staple. Alas, it had been a while since we’d heard anything from them, after the tragic loss of band member Bob Glennie. That is, up until very recently. In 2011, co-founders Austin Morsley and Jamie Smart reformed the band, performing several live dates across Europe (including at Infest this year, which I attended, and I have to say, it was glorious!) Now we finally have their first material in nearly two decades, in the form of a new EP, I am Electronic / Red Noise.
It starts off strong from the get-go, with opener “I am Electronic”. Beefy synths instantly kick in, as a heavily vocoded voice states ‘I am not human… I am electronic.’ This builds up, bursting to an extremely catchy and addictive beat, reminiscent of old-school Industrial in terms of presentation. I’d argue that it sounds a bit too repetitive, but the sheer nature of the hooks within this track are hypnotic, to the point where the listener can’t helped but be drawn in. “Red Noise” continues with the bulky synths, as a pounding beat drives the track forward, which is enough to get anyone stomping to it. There’s a heavy use of distortion within the electro elements of this one, and whilst the pace is much slower than the previous track, it’s no less fuelled with energy. At times, there’s almost something sexy about the rhythm. The latter half of the track is rich with layers upon layers of soundscapes, building an intense atmosphere. The Rotersand rework of “Red Noise” is a catchy rendition of the track in it’s own right. A more pounding, chugging rhythm changes up the pacing, making it ideal to dance to. I wouldn’t call it better than the original, just an interesting alternative take. “Strange” starts with a slow, eerie build up, having a space-like ambience. We’re then treated to an aggressive hammering beat, which makes up the main focus of the song. There’s a range of atmospheric sounds to take in, complimented by some clever synth-work. It’s a pretty epic track too, lasting over 7 minutes in length. Even with it’s long run time, it doesn’t let up, and goes through many interesting evolutions before it ends. Next, up the Victory Pill remix of “I am Electronic” works well as a good continuation of the previous track, making use of ambient sounds and moods. The melodies and hooks feel just as energetic as the original. “Clear the Area” closes off the proceedings with great use of sampling, and some hard-hitting sounds. The progressive electro and distortion helps to make the track memorable. There’s a lot going on and it feels like there’s always a new hook to dance to with each listen.
They may have been gone a long time, but Empirion still very much have it, returning stronger than ever. The songs across this EP feel very retro, and the duo have also managed to contextualise them within more modern elements of the scene, and electronic music in general. Yet it still unmistakeably sounds like them, capturing the essence of what makes their sound so iconic. I can honestly see these tracks dominating dancefloors as much as their previous work. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that this is their strongest work yet, the production quality is fantastic! However, this is only the beginning, as these songs are taken from their upcoming album, the aptly named “Resume”. Considering the top quality of the tracks we already have, I anticipate it’s release with baited breath. Empirion are ready to dominate once again.
Final Verdict: Empirion return stronger and better than ever. Not only are the tracks here hypnotically catchy and intense, it’s also their best work to date. Prepare for them to dominate dancefloors once again!
- I am Electronic
- Red Noise
- Red Noise (Roterstand Rework)
- I am Electronic (Victory Pill Remix)
- Clear The Area