Empires – Through Trial & Tribulation Comes Triumph


Band: Empires
Album: Through Trial & Tribulation Comes Triumph
Label: Saw Her Ghost
Genre: Post Rock

1. Mourning The Arrival Of The Sun
2. Climbing Towards The Infinite
3. Sickly Brown Sky
4. Patience In The Tide
5. Our Mother
6. Through Trial & Tribulation Comes Triumph

2008, for me, has been a year of discovery as far as post rock goes. In the past, the whole idea of instrumental rock music just felt boring, but this year it completely captured my attention and I’ve spent a lot of time trying out different bands this genre seems to hold in high regard. One of these acts was Empires, but unlike genre mates Explosions In The Sky or This Will Destroy, Empires didn’t feel quite up to snuff with everything else. Their latest release, Through Trial & Tribulation Comes Triumph is surely an epic work of musical skill, but don’t hold your breath in hopes of something timeless.

Like many bands, Empires starts things off with a rumbling white noise fade in that just feels a bit overused. I get it, you’re in a struggle and you’re venting through the music you play, but can’t we come up with something a bit more original to start the record? The track itself ends up growing to be quite heavy and catchy, but it seems to end jsut as it’s hit its true climax and the follower, “Climbing Towards The Infinite,” takes everything back to zero and we have to build all over again. Like any album, flow is key, and the rise and falling of notes makes between racks just doesn’t set well with me.

The middle of the album is particularly solid. This is where I learned why people get into this band. Everything, even the simplest parts, feels so epic. I did however, think it got stale a lot. I mean, how many dueling guitars and pounding drums segments can a band make up.  Even without vocals it could all be done just a smidgen better and more than likely has been. I will add that the title track serve up the perfect slice of post rock pie. This is the track I was waiting for, but it just comes a bit late.

Overall, Empires are not the new saviors of post rock. Nor are they the worst band I’ve heard. Through Trial & Tribulation Comes Triumph is an honest effort that offers some great moments, but in the end, leaves you feeling a bit underwhelmed. Check them out, but wait to buy.


*Written by: James Shotwell*
Grade: 6.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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