Empress AD have been on the Musicscramble radar for some time now having had our New Band Spotlight shone on them back before they’d adopted the ‘AD’ suffix and were simply known as Empress.
Since then they released their debut album Still Life Moving Fast, , signed to Roadrunner Records, and embarked on a short four venue UK tour where we caught up with them.
Prior to taking the stage singer and guitarist Ollie Loring told us that the band had recently parted ways with their drummer noting it was “like splitting up with a long-term girlfriend but ten times worse”. His replacement (who’s name I sadly didn’t get) had only four days to learn the songs for the tour and I tell you, if I hadn’t learned that fact there’s no way I would’ve known because he nailed it; he was superb.
Undeservedly playing to only around forty people in one of the city’s smallest venues, the band flew through the majority of the album launching on the excellent ‘Blurred Perception’ and closing with, for me, highlight of both the gig and album, ‘Deeper in Disguise’. The band sport a blend of prog and metal reminiscent but far from copied from bands such as Mastodon, Cave-In or a heavier Oceansize and it’s a joy to behold.
The difference in styles between Ollie, brother Alex on bass, and guitarist Tom Meadon was a revelation – the former thrashing around the stage whilst the latter remained a calm sea of exactitude. Sadly the most frustrated band member was Ollie due to a severely reduced vocal volume. The venue’s sound man really should have got his finger out and sorted that out, but he never did which was a damn shame. In the louder moments it was clear but for the most part was lost in the maelstrom of delightfully crafted noise.
When the gig wrapped up Ollie apologised for what he perceived to be a poor gig because he couldn’t hear himself or the drums, but he needn’t have done so because it was most enjoyable. In fact after wrapping up their last song the crowd began to chant “One more tune!”. Comically, the response was, “We can’t. He doesn’t know any more”, as the sticks man shrugged and looked a little sheepish. The telling thing is that the chant then quickly changed to “Im – pro – vise!”. Safe to say Ollie, you don’t get that sort of reaction if you aren’t doing something right.
The guys also told us they were quite advanced with as-yet-untitled album number two. Hopefully with the major label backing they’ll be able to play larger venues to a larger crowd. This is a young band that deserve to be heard. Hopefully when they’re big and famous they’ll remember us and we’ll still get to chat!