Dead Empires, the new EP from UK metallers Moghul, reveals what it would be like to be enclosed within through the iron jaws of a leviathan, sucked down its oppressive throat, and digested within a cavernous expanse of depths with a tar thick consumption of unrelenting energy and sonic acid. It is a monster of a release, not only in weight and length but in emotive resonance and exhausting intensity.
The quartet from Birmingham since forming last year, has built a sizeable name for themselves through their live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of as Conan, Black Magician, Slab and Alunah. Their demo track Blood & Ceremony of last August also marked the band as ones to watch soon followed by the digital release of Dead Empires. Now with additional availability on a limited edition vinyl edition through Devizes Record, the EP is getting another deserved push. Consisting of just two massive tracks, the release easily explains why the quartet of vocalists/guitarists James Neuenhaus and Joseph Barber, bassist Adam Wiseman, and vocalist/drummer Tom Woods, are becoming the talk of UK rock, their fusing of doom, sludge, stoner, and classic heavy rock an epic and very persuasive mixture. Each song on the EP is a journey, an overwhelming testing sonic odyssey but one offering nothing less than the richest rewards.
First track Dead Empires is immediately gnawing slowly on the ear, its lumbering breath and ravenous heart from the first second unleashing ten minutes of unrelenting consumption, an erosive wrap of intensive doom and somber melodic sonics. It is a bleak and sapping trudge from start to finish but equipped with a seductive swagger and slow infectious persistent groove. With leaden riffs from the prowling bass and equally intensive riffs from the guitars, the song breathes and bleeds morose dark fervency whilst the beats and rhythms just bruise until submission is inevitable but continuing with the same menace thereafter to confirm capitulation. Such its might it is impossible not to be willingly overwhelmed by the viscid tempest of sound and invention and revel in its gruelling and inspiring sludge tsunami.
The thirteen minute second track Hidden Hand, whilst remaining an intensive and melancholic wrap delves into a lighter sonic endeavour bringing a psychedelic shimmering to its caustic melodic grandeur. Do not be mistaken, the song is still a juggernaut of challenging laboured riffs and demanding rhythms but with a different acidic compulsion to its deeply expressive sullenness. Like the first, the atmosphere of the song is as contagious as the senses fretting sounds but together they explore a different diversity of shadows and emotional darkness. The bass again stands out as the prime predator but every aspect of the track is as intimidating and challenging as they are sonically seductive and irresistible.
Dead Empires is an impressive introduction to the power and imaginative craft of Moghul and the declaration of one of the best infiltrators and manipulators of the senses in quite a while. Watch out for the name and sounds of this emerging talent.
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