Empire Auriga – Ascending the Solar Throne by Caitlin Smith

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Moribund Records
Released: 2014
Buy Album [URL]http://www.moribundcult.com
Band Websitehttp://www.empireauriga.com


BOETHIUS – Communications
90000065B – Transmissions
GESTALT – Static


1. Prophetic Light
2. Jubilee Warlord
3. The Solarthrone
4. Waste
5. Planetary Awakening
6. Are You Worthy of Gold?
7. The Foundation of All Human Fears
8. The Last Passage of Azon Grul


Its been an 8 year wait since their debut album Auriga Dying, but Michigan trio Empire Auriga have returned with the follow-up, Ascending the Solar Flame. Perhaps the name rings through with a slight irony considering the majority of the album presents dark atmospheres and lacks very little of its fire. The sound itself borders mostly on dystopian, and whether it conjures images of vast cities or desolate, unforgiving climates, all can agree that the soundtrack is bleak and unforgiving. Its not so much depressive as bereft of hope; it lacks any notion of human touch or pain instead opting for a complete and intensely isolating sound.

Split up into 8 tracks, there is very little that distinguishes each particular one apart. The absence of any motif makes this less an exercise in different atmosphere of ideas and simply a lack of connecting notes between each particular section. While the tracks themselves show little progress, the album as a whole does take the listener on a journey. From the desolation of ‘Prophetic Light’ and ‘Waste’, onto the relatively uplifting ‘Are you Worthy of Gold?’ or ‘The Last Passage of Azon Grul’, passing through ‘The Foundation of All Human Fears’, an emotionless pulsating of static nothingness backing a seemingly angry but barely audible speech.

While this album certainly realizes certain artistic and atmospheric aims, it remains a soundtrack, far more suited to film than gracing the top deck of a CD player. The album lacks any kind of motif and the distant black metal vocals do little to rectify the aimlessness that many of the songs possess. Despite this, Ascending the Solar Throne remains an enjoyable album that could easily back any science fiction or HP Lovecraft reading session.