Dirge – Lost Empyrean (album)

Release date: 14th December 2018 || Genre: Atmospheric doom  || Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Dirge is as Dirge does. This is one slow moving album, which could be described as cosmic, sweeping, bleak, yet none of those words alone could truly give you an impression of how massive the sound is. Eternal free-fall, with the volume at ten. Gravitational, interplanetary dredge. An absolute sensation. I am a huge fan of listening to a record as a whole, and it is well worth taking the time to fully absorb this release. Set aside everything else, and just float through it. This is surely what it feels like when The Spice flows.

At times I kind of feel like they step back a little too far from the diversity of which they are capable. It somehow means they blend a little with their contemporaries, but is it even possible to avoid that in a sub-sub-genre which relies so heavily on crushing simplicity? Is this a better way to ease people into their modernised sound? I think familiarising oneself with the tracks would combat this. On first listen, however (or fourth, at this stage), I do find myself hankering for their more unique movements whenever they are absent. I’m sure Lost Empyrean will be compared many times to Neurosis, Isis, Cult Of Luna, and the like, and there are indeed some similarities, but these sections make it stand out. Perhaps re-introducing some more of the industrial edge they used in early works could help further this. Maybe it would take away from their artistic goals. All these are things for the artists to decide, and no amount of “what-if-ing” will change their chosen trajectory. I’ll certainly be waiting to see where they land next.

All in, just like the rest of Dirge’s back-catalogue, this is not something that’s going to be shaking the dance-floor at rock/metal clubs any time soon, but open air, in the middle of the night..? I could see a field full of the faithful standing agape, soaking up wave after wave. It would be a memorable moment in time, for sure.

Grade: A

Slow Dragon


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