Progress is no stranger to Robots and Empire. Over ten years (and a handful of name/line-up changes), the Poughkeepsie based quartet has constantly challenged themselves and their fans to expect the unexpected and to embrace an aural aesthetic devoid of pigeonholes and delineated only by the magnitude of their creative force. And on this release, they ask for nothing less, yet manage to exert so much more.
Omnivore, the third release in as many years under the Robots moniker, is an album born of saturated earth and swaddled in a ferocious and melodic energy. Erupting with an urgency that plods more so than it explodes, “Pure Shit,” the album’s opener, exemplifies the aspects of the band that make their sound so enticing. Lead singer Brian Conway’s bellows envelope all in earshot while the sludge ensconced assault of Nick Haines’ guitar work builds a wall of sound that could make Spector himself blush. “Monolith” carries on in similar fashion though with manipulated feedback tactics that add to the clenched-jaw punch of this heavier than hell proclamation. “Skywelder,” a getable and peerlessly precise work of descant and doom and “Spider Mites, ” a gunshot, thrill chase riff that bleeds bemusement and brute, hark back to the days of post-grunge glory and congeal to a style that would be suited in either the outskirts of Seattle or the overlooked Champaign-Urbana scene.
While Omnivore‘s greatest attribute is its overall revivifying feel, the influences that used to shape the style of Robots and Empire are very much still alive and well. “Erase Your Name” is a two-minute taste of late-`90s hardcore complete with mid tempo grooves, growls and crew chants that place one right in the middle of those batting glove splattered, matinee mosh pits. “Wizard Prick” is a grime caked street walking blues strut that opens itself to the effects of universes yet reached while “Gamma Ray,” a straight-up rock song turned apocryphal warning is swarmed by intergalactic swells and pedal plotting. “The Midst of This” a doom-jam epic enraptures and its highly effective use of the group’s technical skill stands above and beyond as Omnivore‘s opus while coining a new turn for the Empire into a realm with no end in sight.
A dizzying disarray of of sonic persistence, Omnivore stands as not only the proudest invention to date for Robots and Empire but also as a patchwork of everything they’ve reached beyond over the years while still keeping pieces of the past close to their inspired hearts.
Sleep – Sleep’s Holy Mountain
Floor – Floor
Failure – Magnified