Get the new FREE JFH MP3 compilation -- Vol. 11!
Get the new FREE JFH MP3 compilation -- Vol. 11!

JFH Indie Review

JFH Indie Music Spotlight Review


The River Empires

Album length: 29 tracks: 88 minutes, 49 seconds
Street Date: April 6, 2010

After the news broke that Falling Up had drifted apart after their fourth album (Fangs!), fans of lead-singer Jessy Ribordy didn't have much time to grieve since a new wave of his new music was on its way. Independently, Ribordy created two side projects simultaneously which assumed different identities. The first endeavor was the band The Gloom Catcher which spawned its first album, Slow Chorale, on April 6th. The second, and far more anticipated as an epic group, was The River Empires and their debut album, Epilogue (also released on April 6th).

Fangs! was a concept album based on a screenplay written by Ribordy, which dwelt on a strange science fiction/fantasy story that was vague despite equally bizarre footnotes. However, what was known of the story was intriguing. Although this project is actually a type of conclusion, Epilogue is intended to be the first of seven soundtracks for a cinematic trilogy also named the River Empires. Epilogue is far more ambiguous and disjointed than Fangs! ever was. But, those who paid attention to press releases would know that, until all the installments are available, very little would make sense. Despite some cross references in various portions of the release of Epilogue, the themes don't jive between songs, and any spiritual themes are indecipherable for now at least.

The album's music is a folk/bluegrass/indie mixture that affirmatively distances itself from Falling Up's alterative/experimental rock. There are some cinematic elements as well, but they don't perform as dominant a role as originally advertised. Both "The River Empires Theme" (I and II) get the movie feel down with its creepy piano sound which act as some of the best parts of the album. Instrumental interludes like "From Faye To Astral" and "Lillius" add to the cinema effect, but both clock-out before three minutes.

The biggest flaw of the 29-track project is the 29 tracks. Too many places in the project sound like Ribordy's musical playground. Tracks like "The First Message," "The Woods Of Northland," and "Land Of Canoes" are all useless additions despite their romantic titles. Throughout the lengthy project, the bluegrass songs blend with each other as does some of the sparkless ballads.

But, there are portions of Epilogue which are epic. The first "River Empires Theme" leads perfectly into "Overture In Thales Summer" which is a haunting song. The next two songs ("Our Neighbor, The Earth" and "The Coventry") likewise are an experience which provides listeners with the real meat of the 29-song release. After the warm-up, it becomes harder to find songs that truly stand out. "A Dimmer Lux" has a nice duet, while "The Marching Of The Clocks" features one of the lone experimental rock influences, while "Three Tigers" has arguably the best overall sound.

Of the two albums which debuted on April 6th, The Gloom Catcher's Slow Chorale felt far more like a complete album despite only having 11 tracks. On the other hand, Epilogue is an incoherent disaster which is only saved by the staggering amount of music contained in the two discs. While you certainly get quantity for your buck here, you only get the max quality by leaving at least half the album at the door step. Although it's sad that the River Empires couldn't have crafted a more complete debut, I still found myself enjoying the return of Jessy Ribordy and eagerly anticipating the future of the band's journey.

- Review date: 5/12/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of

(JFH Sponsor Spot)

Check out the new single from Katie Lighty!


. Record Label: None
. Album length: 29 tracks: 88 minutes, 49 seconds
. Street Date: April 6, 2010
. Buy It:

  1. The River Empires Theme I (1:32)
  2. Overture In Thales Summer (5:37)
  3. Our Neighbor, The Earth (7:14)
  4. The Coventry (4:06)
  5. Galloping Through Day Blooms (0:18)
  6. The Harbourland (4:48)
  7. From Faye To Astral (2:12)
  8. A Toast To The Snake King (4:31)
  9. The First Message (1:32)
  10. Catacombs And Orchards (5:21)
  11. Three Tigers (3:57)
  12. Stag Hollow Fair (1:04)
  13. Lull Of Celeste (3:47)
  14. From Outside The Cellar (2:56)
  15. Vcias In The Pines (1:47)
  16. A Dimmer Lux (3:54)
  17. Lillius (2:27)
  18. Witches Blossom (3:43)
  19. The Curse Of Maybel Cains (4:43)
  20. Wildbriar (0:45)
  21. The Motorbike (2:37)
  22. The Pelican (1:07)
  23. The Backyard In Sparkles (4:07)
  24. Land Of Canoes (0:57)
  25. Theon, The Fox (3:48)
  26. An Elliptic Figure From Borelli (2:37)
  27. The Marching Of The Clocks (4:15)
  28. The Woods Of Northland (0:51)
  29. The River Empires Theme II (2:16




go to main Indie review page
go to Indie Review Index


Check out the new single from Katie Lighty!

Search JFH

This Thursday, March 23, 2023
The Undertaking! Superstitions - EP [Futurelore]
The Undertaking! Superstitions (Deluxe Edition) [Futurelore]

This Friday, March 24, 2023
August Burns Red Death Below [SharpTone]
Austin and Lindsey Adamec Sound of the House Vol. 2 [Integrated]
The Kingsmen Decades: Vol. 1 & 2 [Crossroads]
Owl City Coco Moon (independent)
Project 86 OMNI, Part 1 (independent)
Stockholm Worship Other Side [Capitol CMG]
Micah Tyler People Like US - EP [Fair Trade]
Wilder Woods FEVER / SKY (independent)

Amy Grant Trees We'll Never See - Single [AG/Capitol]
Anchor Hymns Sing, Sing, Sing (feat. Antoine Bradford & Dwan Hill) - Single [Integrity]
Canyon Hills Worship Abide - Single [DREAM]
Elevation Worship More Than Able - Single [Elevation]
Neon Feather Altar (Here on Earth) - Single [DREAM]
LaTocha Afraid - Single [Capitol CMG]
Gene Moore Alright - Single [Capitol CMG]
Christian Paul Yes I Am - Single [Capitol CMG]
The Rocket Summer Sing At The Top - Single [Aviate]
VillageKNG Forward Motion (feat. KnowdaVerbs, Pettidee) - Single [Soldier Sound]
We Are Messengers Wholehearted (feat. KB) - Single [Curb/Word]

Next Friday, March 31, 2023
The Classic Crime GRIM AGE (independent)
The Ongoing Concept Again [Solid State]

Tina Boonstra Why Do Good Times Fly? - Single [7Core]
Stillman You'll Be In My Heart - Single (independent)

For all release dates, click here!

Listen to the New Album by Glory's Gate!

Listen to the New Album By Erin Corrado!

Check out depositphotos for royalty free images