Words by Emily Hollitt.
“We are coming” whispers the voice that begins Echoes. Over and over, delayed. And just like that, Empire Within’s ‘Sumbergence’ already has me feeling the same way-submerged in this audible dream sequence that opens the EP. Sirens and emergency announcements sound over delayed guitars before everything quickly comes together, opening Brethren. “Rise above” booms over the chorus. It feels as though I am being called into battle- empowered, resilient, rebellious. I am above submerged at this point- I am involved. The track builds immensely as singer James Ring screams out “Rise! Rise! Rise!”. The track falls to almost nothing as his vocals grow softer, almost slurred in their delivery, yet still assured as he says; “Our hope will fly into the night. We will never see you fight. You will never see the light”.
Downtrown Trodden opens with a mix of sounds taken from technology- as if the wireless signals are being sent throughout the song. Powerful guitars play an earworm of a melody. James’ vocals are softer as he opens the verses. His voice turns conversational, yet urgent, as he pleads “…We’re members of a dying machine…spitting and teaming with mistakes, but we are agreeing, shouldn’t have to be seen, except we trust these leeches in line that hook us with grudges and watch us.”. The vocals grow more demanding, before falling back in to the chorus “Open your mind… open your heart”, as the EP takes a more political turn. “Open your eyes…open your mind…” he screams, pleading you not to trust all the information and propaganda that we are constantly fed through new medias every day.
Title track Submergence begins with a brighter major tonality. Fast-paced drums under the similarly paced guitars give the track a call to urgency, before pulling away. “Pulling from the depths I’m sticking to my gut I’m finding that this path is made of all my broken bones, still sinking in my soul.”. The urgency grows with the song, as it gradually becomes more intense towards it’s finale. The focus on a “Sinking feeling” is continued with The Fall, my personal favourite track off the EP. Crunchy and bright guitars open the track, signifying a much more triumphant and resilient sound. The song digresses solely from the water analogy and comparatively references fire. “I rise from the ashes I made”, screams James, drawing back to the earlier statements mentioned in Brethren. This track is the perfect ending for the album, tying together all the points explored previously, it rebels from the machine-like constraints of society, the media-fed lies and propaganda that control us and turn us against each other.
Mire ends the album much like it had begun- with the audible sound of drowning. Siren sounds can again be heard from the distance as a reminder to how submerged in our selves we can be, that we forget that the world is hurting around us. Empire Within have used their platform to call to all their listeners to take a step back from their phones, the constraints and expectations of social media, our cult-like thinking that prevent society as a whole to be unified, and to open our minds and our hearts; to look at the world more empathically; to understand our lives without the enormous pressures we are subdued under daily.
Check out the EP on Spotify HERE.
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