Empirion - Resume
Industrial, Techno Considering the cult following Empirion have gained for themselves since they first arrived onto the UK’s electronic scene back in the 90s, it’s strange to think that I only first came across them at a Cubanate gig in 2017. I was still relatively new to the world of industrial music at the time, to be fair, but something immediately clicked and got me excited about their sound right there and then, so much so that I couldn’t wait to see them again at Infest Festival last year. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint – after having the full experience of an epic live set complete with visuals, getting my hands on a copy of their newly released I Am Electronic/Red Noise EP was a real taste of how ridiculously energizing industrial techno can be (not to mention proof that The Prodigy weren’t the only good thing to ever come out of Essex – who knew?).

After the difficult loss of fellow member Bob Glennie in 2005 cast doubt on Empirion’s future, Oz Morsley and Jamie Smart have now well and truly returned to begin a fresh chapter as a duo with Resume, their first album in 23 years. I finally got the chance to catch up on new music releases last week so naturally I thought I’d save the best ‘til last, and oh, was I right!

The first track of eleven, title-track ‘Resume’ does exactly what it says on the tin by replicating the sound of analogues slowly coming back to life. From here on, it’s like flipping a switch – ‘S.E.T.I’ could easily be the soundtrack to a sci-fi action movie with its breakbeat drive, robotic vocals of “Empirion” occasionally adding a touch of Kraftwerk during interludes. As the mix evolves into ‘They’re in My Dreams’, empyreal synths eventually give way to a pounding rhythm that gets your heart racing. It’s repetitive enough to get in the zone to, yet every subtle change and added effect that gets introduced keeps you in a constant state of anticipation and revelation.


I probably already played ‘Red Noise’ to death after its release single last summer to be honest, but that doesn’t make it any less of an industrial anthem all the same. Following on from commands like “NOW MOVE YOUR BODY”, ‘Too Many Masters, Pt.2’ otherwise allows for a brief decompression period by taking listeners on a more synth-focused trip; while remaining an Empirion track at its core, there are hints of Leftfield and Underworld in this one that add all the more to its charm. Before you know it, though, ‘Stepper’ throws you right back into a dance groove with trance-like beats that are just as catchy.

Speaking of catchy, ‘Sideswipe’ is another standout tune that’s addictive in its own right; as well as its hefty emphasis on bass, the pressure on this track keeps mounting until it seems to take control of your psyche altogether. ‘Lock It Down’ meanwhile reminds me of Empirion’s 1996 ‘Firestarter’ remix thanks to the way it rains thunder with aggressive rave energy and Earth-shattering drums that come crashing in around the 3-minute mark. Then there’s ‘I am Electronic’ – despite the fact that this track no longer holds the same novelty for me since the EP came out, I still can’t help but appreciate the way its vocoded voice temporarily generates the illusion that technology has a mind of its own.

Oz and Jamie continue to be a powerhouse duo throughout ‘A.S.D.R’, but if there’s one song that made a lasting impression on me from last year’s set at Infest, it’s ‘Hate The Hate’. Beginning with a tribalistic intro, this final track gradually descends into an intense atmosphere created by heavy distortion and a high-pitched ringing sound that’s eerie AF. The music alone is dread-inducing enough as it is, but it’s the audio extracts from Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s 1993 Kean College speech that make it a particularly disturbing listen due to the extreme nature of his rhetoric. Resume therefore ends with a staunch reminder of how violent words can be when they deny the humanity of others - a statement that remains all-too relevant in this day and age.

It’s been a long time coming, but Empirion’s second album has proven itself to be absolutely worth the wait and a fitting tribute their unforgotten partner in crime. A good pair of headphones or speakers definitely come recommended in this case, because this is quality sonic material that’s meant to be played LOUD. 

5
Brutal Resonance

Empirion - Resume

9.5
"Amazing"
Released 2019 by Dependent Records
Considering the cult following Empirion have gained for themselves since they first arrived onto the UK’s electronic scene back in the 90s, it’s strange to think that I only first came across them at a Cubanate gig in 2017. I was still relatively new to the world of industrial music at the time, to be fair, but something immediately clicked and got me excited about their sound right there and then, so much so that I couldn’t wait to see them again at Infest Festival last year. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint – after having the full experience of an epic live set complete with visuals, getting my hands on a copy of their newly released I Am Electronic/Red Noise EP was a real taste of how ridiculously energizing industrial techno can be (not to mention proof that The Prodigy weren’t the only good thing to ever come out of Essex – who knew?).

After the difficult loss of fellow member Bob Glennie in 2005 cast doubt on Empirion’s future, Oz Morsley and Jamie Smart have now well and truly returned to begin a fresh chapter as a duo with Resume, their first album in 23 years. I finally got the chance to catch up on new music releases last week so naturally I thought I’d save the best ‘til last, and oh, was I right!

The first track of eleven, title-track ‘Resume’ does exactly what it says on the tin by replicating the sound of analogues slowly coming back to life. From here on, it’s like flipping a switch – ‘S.E.T.I’ could easily be the soundtrack to a sci-fi action movie with its breakbeat drive, robotic vocals of “Empirion” occasionally adding a touch of Kraftwerk during interludes. As the mix evolves into ‘They’re in My Dreams’, empyreal synths eventually give way to a pounding rhythm that gets your heart racing. It’s repetitive enough to get in the zone to, yet every subtle change and added effect that gets introduced keeps you in a constant state of anticipation and revelation.


I probably already played ‘Red Noise’ to death after its release single last summer to be honest, but that doesn’t make it any less of an industrial anthem all the same. Following on from commands like “NOW MOVE YOUR BODY”, ‘Too Many Masters, Pt.2’ otherwise allows for a brief decompression period by taking listeners on a more synth-focused trip; while remaining an Empirion track at its core, there are hints of Leftfield and Underworld in this one that add all the more to its charm. Before you know it, though, ‘Stepper’ throws you right back into a dance groove with trance-like beats that are just as catchy.

Speaking of catchy, ‘Sideswipe’ is another standout tune that’s addictive in its own right; as well as its hefty emphasis on bass, the pressure on this track keeps mounting until it seems to take control of your psyche altogether. ‘Lock It Down’ meanwhile reminds me of Empirion’s 1996 ‘Firestarter’ remix thanks to the way it rains thunder with aggressive rave energy and Earth-shattering drums that come crashing in around the 3-minute mark. Then there’s ‘I am Electronic’ – despite the fact that this track no longer holds the same novelty for me since the EP came out, I still can’t help but appreciate the way its vocoded voice temporarily generates the illusion that technology has a mind of its own.

Oz and Jamie continue to be a powerhouse duo throughout ‘A.S.D.R’, but if there’s one song that made a lasting impression on me from last year’s set at Infest, it’s ‘Hate The Hate’. Beginning with a tribalistic intro, this final track gradually descends into an intense atmosphere created by heavy distortion and a high-pitched ringing sound that’s eerie AF. The music alone is dread-inducing enough as it is, but it’s the audio extracts from Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s 1993 Kean College speech that make it a particularly disturbing listen due to the extreme nature of his rhetoric. Resume therefore ends with a staunch reminder of how violent words can be when they deny the humanity of others - a statement that remains all-too relevant in this day and age.

It’s been a long time coming, but Empirion’s second album has proven itself to be absolutely worth the wait and a fitting tribute their unforgotten partner in crime. A good pair of headphones or speakers definitely come recommended in this case, because this is quality sonic material that’s meant to be played LOUD. 

Sep 10 2019

Anni Payne

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
0
Shares

Buy this release

Bandcamp
Dependent Records

Related articles

Kloq - 'Begin Again'

Review, Jan 15 2014

The Rabid Whole - 'Problems'

Review, Sep 19 2014

UP 2 ASHES - 'Elapse: Act 1'

Review, May 21 2014

Petrol Bastard - 'U R Fuk'

Review, Apr 28 2016

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016