Empyre from Northampton has been steadily making waves for the last couple of years appearing at Breaking Bands, Wildfire festival and Hard Rock Hell AOR and Ibiza. Their modern intelligent rock has generated a lot of interest and after a collection of EP’s the band are about to release their debut album Self Aware, and it does not disappoint. It is a mature and original album, a highly rewarding listen.
From the moment the opening song My Bad starts it has a Queensryche feel which blends into more of an Alterbridge sound before taking us into a different direction altogether. The dramatic vocal delivery of the lyric ‘all comes crashing down’ followed by a vibrating guitar sound that leads us into an almost Gilmour style solo mid-song that takes on a life of its own with crashing drums. Second track Stone continues with the Alterbridge influence making good use of the quiet gentle verse before the dramatic chorus with lovely guitar work mid-song.
The first two tracks have ample technical ability but the third track New Republic is bound to be a live favourite. It’s a song you want to turn up and rock out to, it has the kind of heavy groove riff that is easy to dance to, yet remains heavy and reminds of Audioslave. Too Close continues the mood with its thick blues riff that makes you want to bang your head, but then quickly morphs into a minimal delivery Soundgarden influence before heading back into that monster riff.
Just A Ride is one of the most uplifting songs on the album where a chilled out summer vibe builds up to an epic solo. The Aptly named Drive would be a fine song for driving down the motorway, on route to a rock festival. It’s riff heaven, a heavy groove to bang your head and a chorus to rock out to. Only Way Out sees Empyre in acoustic mode with beautiful guitar and cleaner sounding vocals, but this is by no means a happy song. It has a lush rich sound and changes the mood of the album to one of contemplation.
Just when you think it must be time for another heavy grove, Empyre throw in another curveball. Cut To The Core has very interesting timings and shows just how technical the drummer is. Part American summer rock but with an offbeat sound; how the band Autograph might have sounded if they went avant-garde.
The final three songs Too Little Too Late has a sleazy rock verse with a heavy groove at the end; whereas Something Remains is a strong standard rocker. Closer Homegrown is an epic grungy ballad with great vocal delivery.
The album does not follow a set pattern from start to finish. The broad range of songs is often involving, challenging, atmospheric and dark. Some tracks make you want to rock out, whilst some make you want to sit still and listen intensely. A contender for album of the year from one of Britain’s brightest new talents.
Self Aware will be available from the 5th July 2019 on good digital platforms.
- My Bad
- New Republic
- Too Close
- Just a Ride
- Only Way Out
- Cut to the Core
- Too Little Too Late
- Something Remains