Genre: Symphonic Deathcore
Album Year: 2013
Symphonic deathcore is one of my personal favourite metal subgenres, because it always involves incredible amounts of creativity and structural brilliance – and Milwaukee based band Rogue Empire’s debut album ‘Overlord’ contains generous amounts of each. It was released in June this year, and this three-piece outfit have quickly gained a lot of attention for their work.
This album opens absolutely fucking magnificently with the title track, with an ominous string quartet playing a series of sweeping notes over some punchy chugging, syncing up to the double bass pedals. It instantly draws you in, and is just a fraction of what this band can do. However, everything soon changes, with synthesisers and tons of sound effects all being used in an incredibly complex pattern to create a…well, symhpony. By three minutes the listener has already been treated to a vast array of techniques such as the use of violins, string quartets, electronic elements and chaotic riffs. This track ends with one of the most unique breakdown/downtempo sections I’ve ever heard. It comprises of a alarm-like electronic thump with some standard chugging, but I’ve never heard a sound like that used over a breakdown. It’s awesome.
The second track, New Dawn, is just as intense and fast-paced as the last, this time using electronic dance music-esque synth that almost makes this track sound like an EDM/deathcore fusion track. Don’t take that the wrong way – it will blow you away. There are so many different things going on in Rogue Empire’s music that it can be hard to pick them all up and appreciate them, such as little SFX complimenting the riffs, or left to right-panning sirens that serve to add to the intensity of this album. The third track, ‘Deceivers’, begins with the last riff of the previous track, an eerie harmony, only played on a piano and accompanied by what is now becoming a staple of this release – a string quartet. This track is only around a minute long and purely instrumental, but it perfectly sets up the fourth track, ‘Dominion’. This is Rogue Empire’s demonstration of just how heavy synths can get. All throughout, some ridiculously brutal riffs are syncopated with complex synth and SFX work, which provides Rogue Empire with such a unique and unheard sound – something that will help them go far.
The fifth and sixth tracks, ‘Empyrean’ and ‘Dissolving Liberty’ respectivley, are two of the most energetic tracks on this album, leaning more towards the deathcore/technical deathcore side of things. These contain a lot of powerful, harsh riffs and extreme Fleshgod Apocalypse-esque drumming. These two tracks still contain Rogue Empire’s innovational synth work.
I could go on, and on, and on about Rogue Empire’s talent and stunning music, but I’m afraid that would take several pages. This album is one of the best modern deathcore albums I’ve ever heard, and easily the best symphonic deathcore album I’ve heard. I just can’t get enough.
Rogue Empire’s debut album is now available for free digital download and only $3 (plus $2.50 US)/$5 international shipping) for a physical copy at rogueempire.bandcamp.com.