When you are trying to make something atmospheric I believe you are going to need more than the conventional instruments used in metal to create something that truly stacks up. Sojourner proved over a year ago with their first song that they had the capability, talent, and expertise to create a high quality atmosphere mixed with black metal to offer a mystifying experience of supreme caliber, and then increase it infinitely with their debut record, “Empires of Ash”.
I said that you’ll need more than regular instruments to make a good atmospheric sound, and “Empires of Ash” has but three: a piano, synths, and a tin flute. Flutes aren’t really that common in atmospheric black metal, not to mention a tin flute specifically, so hearing that come in out of nowhere always adds a layer of tranquility and interest that you never see very often, and the fact that Sojourner implemented it magnificently well is just fantastic in so many ways. This nearly hour long album was well worth the wait for those of us, myself including, who heard Sojourner’s first track, “Heritage of the Natural Realm”, have found a real treat with “Empires of Ash” taking all the assumptions everyone had about them and taking them to the absolute max in the best ways imaginable as I cannot describe how well Sojourner pulled off their debut. Featuring awesome vocals that fit the style perfectly, an enchanting piano and set of synths that just echoes through the chasms of “Empires of Ash”, absolutely beautiful chanting by a woman with a gifted voice, and a set of instruments that get the job done so well with tracks ranging over six minutes, all but one, that make you want to listen to the record over and over and over again.
All you could possibly want while from a debut album, Sojourner proved any doubts wrong. And for those who had their faith in this group now have something that can only be described as awesome. “Empires of Ash” is a magnificent record of the genre that pushes its boundaries and is definitely and simply a wondrous work in a plethora of ways.
LISTEN to “Empires of Ash” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Sojourner on Facebook here.