The Empire Never Ended
27th January 2017 – Pelagic Records
01. Simon the Magus
02. Die Zeit Ist Da
03. System Regained
05. The Empire Never Ended
06. Going Through Life The Eyes Closed
Drone metal is a divisive genre: detractors will make jokes about how their fridge sounds like the new Sunn O))) album, while fans proclaim “you just don’t get it”.
For those that do not get it – and there are many that fall into such a category – drone is the art of creating a mood with minimal sound. The soundscapes are desolate, and the notes are meant to tap into some primal part of the brain, rumbling through the forgotten corners of the human psyche. There are also bands who make meandering and pointless sounds that go nowhere and say nothing.
Twinesuns, a drone act from Germany, fall somewhere in between the two. The Empire Never Ended, their second full length album, has definite moments where it crafts a pummeling atmosphere, using alien sounds to build a vast and strange landscape - but equally, there are other moments where it feels flat and uninspired
Genuinely quite well done, the vocals are fairly limited in scope; there are no traditional lyrics, but rather some strange vocalisations such as on “Going Through Life The Eyes Closed” where, about a third of the way through, begins something akin to bestial whispers, echoing through the mix and sounding only barely human. Really, it’s a shame these aren’t used more, as they’re very effective.
Meanwhile, some of these tracks can go by without the listener even realising they’re listening to a different song. “Pneuma” is particularly unmemorable and unnoticeable; it’s the shortest track on the album and is more than half over before it even feels like it is doing anything at all.
The promotional materials for The Empire Never Ended are keen to mention that there are no drums to be found on the recordings, and boy do they deliver on that promise – but that they promote it so hard almost makes it feel like a gimmick.
So while there are interesting moments and soundscapes on The Empire Never Ended - including “System Regained” and “Die Zeit Ist Da” - the record nevertheless falls short of the intended goal. The moments where it is on point, it fills the listener with a sense of isolation and dread, but the moments where it feels more like a bunch of background noises in some sci-fi horror B-movie are more numerous, and the somewhat gimmicky nature of the no-drums promotion doesn’t help either.
The Empire Never Ended is unfortunately likely what all drone music sounds like to people who are not fans of the genre. Give this one a miss; maybe the empire should have ended after all.