Empirion

Advanced Technology

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Drawing as much on a hard-edged industrial dance background as a techno one -- influences listed in the liner notes include the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb, and Front 242 -- Empirion made a fierce debut album with Advanced Technology. The band's most well-known song, "Narcotic Influence," appeared in two versions, both featuring a Front 242-inspired bassline straight out of "Headhunter," recast into a blasting, relentless hard techno masterpiece. Happily, Advanced Technology showed the threesome had more than that brilliant hit up their collective sleeve. Another thank you acknowledgement to Joey Beltram makes perfect sense throughout; while "Energy Flash" isn't the only template for songs like the title track and "Jesus Christ," it's a clear model nonetheless as beats and bass hits rip through speakers. "PH1" holds back just a touch in comparison, but not by much. It's arguably the album's other chief highlight, with guitar feedback adding just enough shade in the background of the mix as everything else rips along, straight up. Gentler approaches also crop up here and there, perhaps surprisingly, but even "Ayahuasca" has a carefully restrained power to it, a breath for air but not a relaxing of the guard. Even songs with a slightly more pedestrian approach often have a key moment, like the mock choir effects at the close of "Quark," which increased the drama of the track to striking heights, or the chilly synth overdubs on "Ciao." Overall, the appeal of Empirion's work lies in its economy and crisp, clinical atmosphere, combined with excellent arrangements and inherent knowledge of dancefloor appeal everything feels tailored first and foremost for rave soundsystems, track for track. Points as well for not having any singers in -- it would have ruined the wordless power of this great album.

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