Desert Empire
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Street: 07.13
Desert Empire = (Opeth – Gojira) + Explosions in the Sky
After seven interminable years of anticipation and a recent name change (originally Velvet City), Desert Empire have released a heavily progressive first album that veritably blew me away. Intricate, rolling drum patterns, matched with a mix of soft and sonorous upper–register piano riffs create an aquatic theme like a deep–ocean odyssey. Syncopated bass lines (such as on “Entry Grounds”) and constantly metamorphosing guitar licks tie it all into a neat package. Each song crescendos in a unique way and brings the end full circle back to the beginning. “Harbinger” features progressive metal elements with heavier distortion and sections highlighting each instrument separately. Yawning, harmonic backing vocals supplement oft-wailing and always resonant lead vocals. If you skip over this project, you’ll be sorely missing out. Snag a copy of their disc online (, or catch them at one of their upcoming shows and see them live in all their glory. –LeAundra Jeffs