Ghost of the Russian Empire
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Ghost of the Russian Empire

Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ghost of the Russian Empire - with fiercest demolition"

For a few seconds, the opening of this debut gives a fleeting transport to Skectches of Spain. A simple, expressive trumpet call imprints that exotic notion of a foreign landscape that Miles Davis captured in that landmark recording. Through a different medium of thickly layered indie-rock, Ghost of the Russian Empire achieves a similar romanticism of another world. That trumpet is quickly supplanted with rumbling percussion and opiate guitars, but it's never far from the imagination. Brandon Whitten sings in a dreamy trance, adding to a surreal feeling this deceptively blaring outfit is taking us on a trip through time. The first two tracks, "august 1914" and "NOV 2070," outline humanity's inability - from the brink of the proletariat's revolution to a science-fiction future - to escape shattered hope. - Austin Music Magazine

"Ghost of the Russian Empire- with fiercest demolition"

Like a Valium-vodka cocktail, local indie fourpiece Ghost of the Russian Empire sedates and excites, their debut EP dancing MBV with the Dandy Warhols in an indecipherable cloud of reverb and fuzz. Brandon Whitten's voice sends waves of inspiration through a vintage sound, more hum than lyrics. Beautifully recorded - with the help of the talented Erik Wofford - With Fiercest Demolition is only a tease of what's to come. - Austin Chronicle

"Ghost of the Russian Empire: With Fiercest Demolition"

Ghost of the Russian Empire: With Fiercest Demolitions
Written by: Thomas Bell

A secret many musicians don’t realize: when a listener first goes to a show or hears a record from a band they’ve never heard or heard of, they want it to be great. No sentient being with any semblance of a heart wants it to suck. How refreshing then, to put in the debut EP from Ghost of the Russian Empire, With Fiercest Demolition, and to be not just glad, but intrigued and already looking forward to hearing this band live and in their future work.

I come from a classical music background. When a classical musician sends in an audition CD, it ideally demonstrates the range of what the musician does best. If With Fiercest Demolition were an audition CD it would pass with flying colors. First of all, from the opening trumpet riff to last note it is engaging and leaves me wanting more. Personally, I was apprehensive about this record because I really liked it the first time I heard it. Much of the music I like most I wasn’t at all sure about the fist time I heard it.

Little can be learned about Ghost of the Russian Empire at this point except for a one paragraph bio on the 30 Ghosts label website and their Myspace page. Most of what can be learned about this band is on the six tracks of With Fiercest Demolition, their debut EP.

Listening to this record there are moments when Radiohead (Thom York’s vocals in particular), Ride, and The Ocean Blue come to mind... also the patient building of songs that Doves do so effectively. When one likes a record on first listen, a question lurks: is this a rehash of whatever familiar sounds it reminds you of, or have they utilized these elements and added something to them? On repeated listens it becomes clear that this record accomplishes the latter. It's a promising debut.

I wonder if these guys were in band in high school or had some formal musical training? From start to finish, this record is sophisticated in terms of orchestration, rhythm (hear the flawless, subtle time signature changes in the opening track, August 1914), and patience and restraint as each song builds. By building a song, I mean that there's a temptation to want to get to that louder, hard driving, all-out part. To “build” a song in this sense involves starting simply or understatedly and adding slowly the layers and building up to that place every one wants a song to go. Listening to this record you know they’re going there. But, the journey is thoughtfully crafted – so that each step, each added layer of sound, is enjoyable.

Brandon Whitten’s vocals may be likened to Thom York’s in some senses. But he doesn’t come across as a traditional rock frontman at any point in this record. He accomplishes all the emotion, intensity and expression any front man could hope to, but he never “takes over.” He makes his voice part of the organic whole on the sublime sounds of With Fiercest Demolition. Think Mark Gardener and Andy Bell’s vocals with Ride. It's rare and refreshing.

A lot of credit for the success of this record has to be given to drummer/percussionist Mike Plata. Whether it’s his effortless navigation through the time signature changes in the opening track or the minimal, foreboding, tribal tom-tom playing on Psychomedicated. Ghost of the Russian Empire are not only a band, they're true musicians.

Sounds: atmospheric, brooding, dark; but not “mopey” or defeated ever. Determined. Not cynical. Shoegazer, psychedelic, straight ahead rock, a sadness, but not resigned to it. If these songs were a movie character they might be a Sci-Fi action anti-hero like Kurt Russell in a John Carpenter movie. He’s getting the shite kicked out of him but you know he’s not going to give up and he’s going to hand out some retribution to some people who’ve got it coming by the end.

The lyrics are not the usual pop song throwaway fare. The subjects of their lyrics include history, politics and sci-fi. The songs are not stories or narratives as such — they're at times abstract puzzles to contemplate containing hints and nonsequiters. I’m not sure what some of them mean exactly, but they're literate, intelligent, and intriguing.

I was speaking a while back to a classical composer — the beauty of the age we live in is that there are composers who listen to every kind of music out there (check out an issue of The Wire sometime). Anyway, we were talking about a couple of his students who are friends of mine, and he said, “There are a lot of tenured professors of composition I know who wish they were writing stuff like these guys are writing.” I suspect that there are many tenured rock musicians who, if they hear this band, may wish they were writing stuff like Ghost of the Russian Empire. -

"Ghost of the Russian Empire - Editor's Pick"

Recorded with producer Erik Wofford whose resume reads “Explosions In the Sky, Voxtrot, and The Black Angels”, “With Fiercest Demolition” is Texas indie rock at its very finest. Texturally sounds are layered thick with incredulous tone. Ghost of the Russian Empire are a shoegazing indie rock that has the pop elements of Radiohead and My Morning Jacket but the jangled fuzzy guitars of My Bloody Valentine. Brilliantly recorded and delivered, “With Fiercest Demolition” should be on the top of everyone’s wish list. -

"Ghost of the Russian Empire"

This is a stunning debut EP that immediately made me sit up and take notice. Your gut reaction may be to peg Ghost of the Russian Empire as a federation of Muscovites who love playing Radiohead-influenced music. Instead, the quartet hails from the ?gfrigid tundra of central Texas?h and I?fd say that their music reminds me more of several 80s shoegazer bands like MBV, Ride, and Lush with vocals that sound like Aaron Espinoza of Earlimart. Doves and The Delgados might be other touchpoint comparisons.

Certain songs like ?gNov 2070?? have the sort of thumping darkness and distant chill that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Dandy Warhols love to traffic in. There is a deep enveloping haze that permeates their music, with a driving beat behind all of it. A futuristic indie-rock soundtrack to Philip K. Dick or William Gibson. This is much better than many of the Interpol-ish bands coming out of England and Europe.

Ok, I have to admit that ?gPsychomedicated?h DOES remind me an awful lot of Thom Yorke. But I?fll take this kind of homage any day of the week over bands that just copy Radiohead outright. ?gWith Fiercest Demolition?h is a delicious EP filled with great, swirling songs that you shouldn?ft miss listening to.

"Ghost of the Russian Empire - with fiercest demolition"

Hypnotic, kinetic pop songs that lie submerged below an ever-changing layer of distortion. Sometimes just a scrim and other times a full-blown fog. GOTRE changes the rules somewhat by writing perky songs for this sound, and I like that. Stay contemplative even as you bound around. -

"Ghost of the Russian Empire - with fiercest demolition"

(Four stars)

Their name screams "Epic, possibly impossibly pretentious guitar rock in the tradition of such long-winded Emo's soundtrackers as Mogwai, Mono and Explosions in the Sky," but those who find such sounds exhaustively over-played need not run screaming. Though Ghost of the Russian Empire share producer Erik Wofford with increasingly-famous locals Explosion, Voxtrot and the Black Angels, and one can easily imagine their songs stretching out on stage, Ghost hark back to a late '90s strain of indie rock. It's a sound that dodges stereotypical indie simplicity for something more fleshed out.

The quickly strummed guitars, humming with distortion; the stuttering beats; the random brass instruments (in this case, trumpet and trombone) filling out the melodies; Brandon Whitten's vocals soaring over the rush of song like an angel flying over the ocean — My Morning Jacket and Radiohead changed this band's lives, especially the singer's, especially on "Psychomedicated." This isn't a knock — Ghost handle atmospherics better than most and wondering whether this is sophistication or the illusion of sophistication is beside the point. If we held such slight of hand against rock bands, we'd be listening to nothing but Woody Guthrie.
- XL ent. - Austin American Statesman

"Ghost of the Russian Empire - with fiercest demolition"

4 out of 5

Signed to Thirty Ghosts Records, the same label as My Education, Ghost Of The Russian Empire have both the name and support of a band clearly serious about making inroads in to the post-rock world. Not that this promising quintet ever follow any clichés. Far from it, 'With Fiercest Demolition' find inspiration from a bleak world view characterised by disaffected, haunting vocals and unusual song structures. Guitar controls switch from 'Dialection's shoegazing to a sound more akin to rock and roll rumble on 'The Sovereign And A Sword'. Interestingly, this is a record which gets darker and darker with each track as evinced on the multi-layered sound of doom that is 'Psychomedicated' and then the similarly elegiac but sparer arrangements of 'Plague & Punishment'. Refreshingly free of the usual bombast, this is a bleak but ultimately stirring experience. -

"Alternative Press Magazine"

Unsigned Band of the Month--October 2007 - Alt. Press


2006- with fiercest demolition (ep)

2008 - the mammoth (full length)



Born in the latter half of 2004, we have agreed to bestow upon this world an instrument of retribution. A musical goliath with the capacity to heal or destroy. A gracious handshake and a knife to the neck. Assumptions would be a mistake. As witnesses stand mesmerized, we approach to crack them in the teeth. We're looking for the answers in this world, and wondering if they should be beaten up.