Empires Of Ash is a five-track, 37 min album by Canadian Doom band Heron. This is the third album from the Easy Vancouver group following on from 2020’s Time Immemorial.
Empires Of Ash opens with the nine-minute Rust And Rot. A two-note riff opens the song and runs for about a minute and a half before a third note joins in. The song builds a little further and the riff gets a bit more intricate and the screamed vocals enter the chat and we have ourselves a nice sludgy doom track. Unfortunately around the 4:30 mark, the song levels out and we have to start the entire process over, we’re only halfway done and I didn’t find the two-note section of the riff compelling enough to keep me vibing and I was ready to move on long before the song was. Not a track I’d go back to for multiple listens, unlike the rest of the album.
Next up is The Middle Distance, which starts with some clean picked guitar and eventually some chill drums and after about 3 minutes of prog-ish intro the distortion kicks in and the drums pick up. Slow, heavy doomage follows with a real slow riff. Around the 4 min mark the song shifts up with a slight key change and the has a kinda uplifting feel behind the vocals.
Hauntology follows a similar format, the clean intro riffs getting distortion added and building from a long intro into a slow groove and an alternate picked riff that’s pretty catchy and a nice there note refrain that flows well with the drums behind it.
Hungry Ghosts is the most Rockin’ song on here, it starts with banging Tom drums and a toe-tapping guitar riff that still manages to keep the tempo down despite being pretty catchy. There’s a quiet coda across the middle then the riff and the Toms kick back in.
With Dead Eyes is the closer and is a really solid song on its own but works great to end the album. It starts clean and catchy with a layered guitar part over the drums. The guitars pull back when the vocals start giving a bit of a quiet/loud dynamic and the double kicks go nuts for the last minute or so to give a big dramatic ending.
Despite getting off to a slow start (Pun Intended) the album flows along really well and some great moments and hits all the notes you’d want from a Sludge/Doom release. Some filthy guitar tones and catchy drumming were standouts.