A dirge is a somber lament to the dead. While there is gravity to Lost Empyrean, the latest record from the band Dirge is hardly somber or mournful. Complexly woven melodies offer an intense auditory experience that is uplifting and dazzling.
Lost Empyrean begins with “Wingless Multitudes,” a low and slow orchestration driven by thick, sludgy riffs. There is some particularly pleasing percussion later on in the track. Croaking vocals alternating between clear and raspy. It feels like a journey through someplace ancient where magic filled the air.
This Dirge record is symphonic and whole in the way songs blend from one to the other. That becomes more apparent as “Wingless Multitudes” concludes and “Horsea 8:7” begins. The tone on this track sounds like clashing steel. Vocals have a beatbox quality, and guitar riffs crash down and retreat like waves that ebb and flow.
Every song on Lost Empyrean has a stirring introduction that serve as an interlude from one track to the next and auditory wormholes that explore dark, musical mysteries. The atmosphere on “AIgid Troy” is hazy and marked by eerie static and ambience. “AIgid Troy” is at times-doom laden with heavy riffing and guttural howls. In other moments, this tune features a fusion of oceanic melodies and instrumental that soar.
The marriage of opposite sounds in every song results in an album of satisfying contradictions. Sometimes the songs feel as if two songs occupy the same space. “Lost Empyrean” comes around with a tapping beat and plucky guitar notes but punctuated with wailing vocals that get the heart pumping and blood flowing.
“A Sea of Light” starts with slow beats and riffing that ratchet up the tension and doom. There is a sense that Dirge are ready to lay their dead and record to rest.
“Sarracenia,” the final track on Lost Empyrean, concludes the record with notes and flares that are chilling and haunting. The gravely bass calls back the rhythm and dissonant atmosphere from “Wingless Multitudes,” the first track on the album. Deep and echoing atmosphere of this track sound like fuzzy radio transmission. Verdant flourishes of sound, tranquil symbols, and lush instrumentals close this radiant album with opulence and style.
Lost Emyprean is rewarding auditory experience that is at times transcendental. The journey feels like an evolution into something boundless and beautiful. By the end of the record, there is a feeling of peace that comes from a full, rich experience, and in learning to let go.