As everyone clearly knows at this point, I am pretty Technically Inclined, and my fascination for tech death has continued to grow with each month. Considering the amount of tech death I have been eyeing for the past few months, it seems that 2021 has become a good year for tech death, even with some less-than-stellar releases in its footing. However, this is not one of those pitfalls, as despite Empires of the Mind being an EP, Supreme Conception show that they are a band who clearly know exactly what they are doing.
Empires of the Mind starts immediately how anyone would imagine a tech death EP would start off: fast guitars, even faster drums (Aaron Stechauner of Rings of Saturn fame is the drum wizard on the EP), and an impressive breadth of elements and textures that will immediately melt your face off. The music is incredibly clean and well-balanced, allowing for moments of groove while a guitar solo is executed, for example, before falling straight into trope territory with a backing bassline. However, things begin to take a turn during second track “Harboring The Fractured Transcendence,” where, after an intense intro, the music begins to slow, showcasing that groove that I had previously referred. It’s such a seamless change that you can’t help but be impressed at how they managed to slow the music down before shifting once again to compensate for the speed of the drums. I also couldn’t help but find myself humming along to the music, which is sort of impossible to do in most scenarios. Tech death tends to suffer due to the lack of catchy hooks that makes album memorable, but Empires of the Mind is filled with catchy hooks and memorable moments that makes me want to headbang and play this loudly to torment my neighbors.
As the EP continues, it becomes increasingly apparent that Supreme Conception clearly know what they want to make and how they want to make it. Sure, the music is fast, and the production is incredibly well-structured, but there is something incredibly emotional about this EP. For something so well-executed, the fact that the band are able to balance out that execution with emotional conviction shows that they know that they want to make music that is incredibly accessible. Songs like “Transgression I: The Underlying Identity” and closer “On the Path to Divinity” showcase this accessibility, while showing that the band is able to flawlessly incorporate basslines as part of their main melody to enhance their music’s complexity. I also wanted to highlight that while the EP is very short – it has a 21-minute runtime from start to finish – the band is able to cohesive pack so much texture and intensity into this that I am surprised this isn’t a full-length. Even though it’s short, it feels like a complete album that never overstays its welcome, providing a lot of dynamic and variety that makes very easy on the ears.
All in all, Empires of the Mind is an enjoyable EP whose ideas and music lead to a cohesive whole that never overstays its welcome. It also so many memorable moments that you can’t help but go back and listen to the EP once. While it is obvious that the band isn’t trying to create something new, they are tech death that is inherently their own and I can’t but wait for a full-length. Come for the impressive instrumental display, stay for the emotional punch.
Hasta la proxima!