This disc has been sitting around my room for what feels like an eternity, and I finally sat down to listen to it not knowing what Robots and Empire had in store for me. The opening of “Stampede” is something that works well with the band’s title.
The hard guitar and drum beat that opens up the track speaks to the empire side of things; the overwhelming force of the band is more than enough to inspire awe in all listening to the band, while the technical ability of the band during tracks like “Stampede” is at a level that surpasses humanity and could really only be done by our metallic friends. While the opening to “Hydroaxe” seems to show a little more nuance and maybe an emo influence, this is quickly dropped for the same grungy type of metal that only seems to move in influences from something nebulous to a more of a Corrosion of Conformity meets Fireball Ministry type of sound. “Hammer Sledge” brings a little psychedelic influence to the band’s sound, although it is drawn through a mutual love for acts like Black Sabbath who were more directly influenced by the genre. A number of the slower tracks are beasts; the brutal sound of Robots and Empire coupled with the extended runtime of this track means that individuals have to be ready for the long haul. “Mus Decumanus” continues showing Robots and Empire’s multiple influences; this time, hints of M.O.D. make their way to the fore.
While there is definitely a unitary sound to Robots and Empire during the majority of the tracks on “Cast Shadows on Dragon”, all one needs to do is listen in carefully. By doing this, one hears that the previously unitary sound is in reality a very full and shifting mass of constituent parts, all doing their own thing to ensure that the robot (or the empire) is successful in whatever endeavors that they may put their mind to for the time being. The band bludgeons and beats their listener for the entirety of the disc (even a “lighter” song like “Effect Depth” still has its hard moments) and when the individual looks up, it is only 35 minutes later. Robots and Empire are masters of modifying time for their own nefarious purposes, and they do that perfectly through the entirety of the disc. This is an album well worth picking up, if you are a fan of hard rock, metal, or sludge.
Top Tracks: Attack of the Firepants, Hydroaxe
Robots and Empire – Cast Shadows on Dragons / 2006 Glacial / 9 Tracks / http://www.robotsandempire.com / http://www.glacialrecords.com / Reviewed 05 September 2006