The dreaded sophomore slump – the follow-up to an excellent debut album is always a lofty task. In Empirion’s case, the band pulls off the feat in undeniably impressive fashion. However, the unfortunate circumstance is that it took 23 years. Oh, what could have been for the trio of Jamie Smart, Austin “Oz” Morsley, and Bob Glennie. Despite scoring a massive debut hit single in “Narcotic Influence,” an unforgettable remix of “Firestarter” (as well as a tour opening spot) for their Essex brothers The Prodigy, and the critically praised full-length Advanced Technology, Empirion didn’t achieve the popularity of artists like their brethren in The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers or The Crystal Method, and largely faded into obscurity. Additionally, Glennie’s diagnosis of cancer in 1997 and subsequent untimely death in 2005 essentially put the remaining duo in hibernation and not much was heard from them in the last 20 years. However, recently the pair started showing up at festivals and opening for industrial acts like Cubanate, and the boys were back, embracing the EBM stylings that previously may have hindered their commercial success. In late 2019, the band dropped Resume on the masses. Whereas Empirion previously sounded like a techno act with industrial leanings, now the band soundslike an industrial act with a penchant for acid-tinged techno. This release is reminiscent of the early 21st century releases of P.U.L.S.E./Still & Raw from 242, especially noticeable with the back-to-back EBM-slathered “They’re In My Dreams” and “Red Noise,” both of which contain vocals that could have easily been from Jean-Luc de Meyer. This is a relentless, heavy-hitting album that demands to be played at ear-splitting volume on a quality set of speakers, and it does not let up for nearly 80 minutes, with 11 songs that are all a minimum of six minutes in length. This might be a slight issue for those more interested in a traditional EBM/industrial style as there is definitely still a techno facet to the music, which results in a lot of repetition; however, there are enough changes to keep things very interesting. From the slowly building intro track, “Resume,” to standouts such as the aforementioned “Red Noise” and thumping “Stepper,” and even an updated take on Kraftwerk with “I Am Electronic,” Smart and Morsley know what they’re doing and do it very well. Outside of Brian Natonski’s late ‘90s project, Gearwhore, there are very few artists that merge industrial and techno in the same fashion as Empirion. If a blender full of Front 242, The Prodigy, and Josh Wink might be your cup of tea, you will love this album.