Usually when given a new band to review, I check their Metal Archives profile. Naturally I was confused to see EMPIRE AURIGA's absence from that site (they were rejected several times, apparently). Listening to “Auriga Dying” taught me a thing about exclusivity in music. It's hard to set yourselves apart from categories and pigeonholing. AURIGA DYING aim to function independently of all this, but they do so in a melting pot of myriad genres of modern music.
Let's see how many classifications I can rattle off here. Industrial, shoegaze, ambient, trance, noise, and Black Metal seem to be the main ingredients. It's like a one-a-day multivitamin. “Sorrowsong,” the album's highlight, envelopes you in a spacey atmosphere created by distorted guitars shoegazing away beneath a melancholic lead, marching along to an simple drum pattern. Listen a little harder for some industrial beats hidden deep into the background. With the concept in mind, this album perfectly accompanies that feeling of being lost in space, doomed for eternity.
The next track is in the same vein, but thenceforth the album declines into incoherence, as if the second and third tracks dissolved into their constituent parts.
While EMPIRE AURIGA may not be a pure metal band, or even a metal band at all, that doesn't mean it won't appeal to metal fans, especially those into the recent wave of the Black/Ambient sub-genre. It may not be DARKSPACE, but this album will also take you out of your body and into the dead realms of stellar dust.
(Online August 9, 2008)