Released: 2003, Lion
The first Empire was great. For more information check Rick’s excellent review. I was delighted to see that this all-star band is still going. I always worry when I hear super-group projects as often they do not have the stability or staying power due to other commitments. Fortunately this is not he case with Empire and by having two releases a band like Empire makes the jump from one-off, cool novelty to legitimacy as a separate band.
The big change in the line-up is the addition of Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath, ex-Misha Calvin, ex-Rondinelli, ex-Giuntini, and currently doing Cage, M3 and solo stuff) on vocals replacing Lance King and Mark Boals. Martin is more than a hired gun as he co-wrote every single song on the disc. The rest of the line-up is stable.
We have ten tracks of virtually flawless melodic hard rock. Smooth vocals with range and emotion, laid-back and competent performances of these veteran masters. This band gels very nicely and seems to avoid the disjointed feel of some all-star projects.
Lion Music affords the band the high quality treatment with a nice colorful booklet with photos, lots of computer generated images, lyrics, notes and so on and immaculate production by Rolf Munkes. The cover concept is kinda overused, naked flying humans, I must have a dozen album covers with something similar. The ten songs here are all radio-compatible with fairly conventional structure and arrangements and nothing too frantic in the delivery.
A complaint I have is the lack of lyrical originality. I’m sure these guys could do a little better. They have a track called ‘Comin’ Home’. That is so overused it is not funny, despite being a common, human sentiment. Just out of curiosity I did a quick search Rockdetector database (http://www.rockdetector.com
) and found that there are over 75 other rock/metal bands with a song called ‘Comin’ Home’!
I really enjoy this album. It takes me back to a kinder, gentler time when rockin’ out was fun and laidback. Intense? No. Passionate and engaging for a fan of melodic metal? Most definitely. Visit Empire at http://www.empire-rock.com.