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Album Review :EMPYRE SELF AWARE

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 Anyone out there who has read my reviews will know how much I have championed and love this band, from the  time a few years ago when I first saw them at a little local Northampton festival I knew they were something special, and I couldn’t understand why they were not getting the recognition they deserved. Well finally the music world has sat up and listened, and with appearances and rave reviews on BBC Introducing and regular airplay now on Planet Rock, the rise of EMPYRE  is getting bigger and bigger, reason for the change in attitude is  mainly down to two singles they released and the new eagerly anticipated Album soon to be with us: SELF AWARE.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfIH4uPMKIg&w=560&h=315]

For this review I won’t be doing a detailed write-up of every song as many of you out there know them all so well, and for anyone yet to discover these guys I shall let you judge for yourselves. Needless to say, this band deliver a unique experience: where so many others out there have the generic rock vibe, EMPYRE entertain us with their own style and magic well beyond the classic rock sound.  Henrik Steenholdt: rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Did Coles: lead guitar and backing vocals, Grant Hockley: bass, and Elliot Bale: drums have put together eleven songs of infectious riffs, hard and heavy sounds and dark ethereal numbers, but all played in their own inimitable style and skill.

For the longstanding fans the album opens with three new numbers; the first being MY BAD where you immediately hear the hypnotic dual guitar work followed by the powerful growly vocal of Henrik, slowly building the atmosphere to the chorus and then you get a little taste of Did’s incredible guitar work, a wonderful introduction and you just know from this first track you are in for something special.

Following with STONE and one that Henrik says is one of his favourites , especially to perform live. It’s a dark moody song, as many on here are, but none are the dour miserable kind where you want to cut your wrists. All the songs on here, whether they be heavy progressive or even introspective, you can just disappear into. I don’t think you will ever see a mosh pit at an Empyre gig, but what you will get is an audience captivated by the beautiful chords, vocals, and incredible musicianship from all four of them.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3PQ1jNqiiY&w=560&h=315]

The third song on the album is the one that has probably got them the most recognition so far, the latest single NEW REPUBLIC  now getting heard a lot on Planet Rock who just recently included Empyre as the 55th band in their  One To Watch feature, a powerful Political (ish) song about the crazy world we live in now where inhuman acts are performed on each other, whether it be in the name of religion or politics. It is filled with wonderful riffs and hooks, heavy drum beats, the brilliant and incredible vocal of Henrik and a deep and pulsating bass, is it any wonder Planet Rock love it so much.

There are so many brilliant songs on this album with wonderful lyrics, vocals and just amazing talent from all the boys and I can’t praise it enough, from the beautiful ONLY WAY OUT and the first single TOO LITTLE TOO LATE to the progressive sound of HOMEGROWN.

This album basically sums up what Empyre strive to be at the moment, and it certainly does that: if this is not included in one of the albums of the year, I shall be very surprised.

With the rise of NEW WAVE OF CLASSIC ROCK bands hitting the festivals and mainstream audiences, and with bands like Empyre with their unique style and sound, I say the future of  British music is in good hands,  but with venues all over the country closing down at a rate of knots it is down to you to keep music alive: support live music. Go out and see this band perform live and become part of the Empyre: you are in for a treat.

Track listing

1. My Bad

2. Stone

3. New Republic

4. Too Close

5. Just a Ride

6. Drive

7. Only Way Out

8. Cut to the Core

9. Too Little Too Late

10. Something Remains

11. Homegrown

Review by Dave Martin- published first at Jace Media

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