White Empress may be a new band, but the various members are all experienced musicians. The lineup consists of Paul Allender (ex Cradle of Filth), Mary Zimmer (Luna Mortis), Will Graney (Damnation Angels), Chela Harper (Coal Chamber), Jeremy Kohnmann (The Awakening), and Zac Morris (many bands including Ugly Kid Joe).
As you’d expect from a band formed by Paul Allender who for many years was the main songwriter in Cradle of Filth as well as playing guitar, this is definitely not going to be AOR/melodic rock – it’s good heavy stuff. His great guitar work goes nicely with the vocals from Mary Zimmer. Her vocals are seriously impressive and show an unusually wide range as she mixes clean singing, operatic vocals and demonic growls. In fact listening to the album you could be forgiven for thinking there were two vocalists rather than just one.
Brief comments on a couple of tracks…
The album opens with “Rise of the Empress”. It’s an instrumental (ok there are some choral vocals in the background but no lead vocals), and gives a good introduction to the album. It’s mainly driven by the drums and the guitars, but the keyboards add an extra element into the mix that hint that this isn’t just going to be full power metal – there’s more to it than that.
The first track leads straight into “The congregation” which opens with some growling vocals from Mary Zimmer. There are some background operatic vocals that contrast nicely with the growls, but it’s not long before the vocals switch from growls to clean singing. There’s a mix throughout the song of clean and growling vocals.
The first video to be released from the album is for “Darkness encroaching” – have a watch and listen and see what you think. It seems a slightly odd song – that electronic section at the start gives the impression that things are going to be very different, but once you’re past those first few seconds it’s into the heavy sort of material that is typical of the album.
The core of the music is heavy guitar driven metal, with that mix of growling and clean singing, but there’s so much more here too – whether its the keyboards, the operatic vocals, the choir vocals or other elements being added, they all contribute to giving the music so much depth. This really is a superb album. With Paul Allender coming from Cradle of Filth, a band I’m really not a fan of, I was curious to hear White Empress, but it’s easily exceeded my expectations. If you’re not a fan of Cradle of Filth, don’t let that stop you checking out White Empress – I personally think White Empress are by far the better band and certainly have a much better singer.
“Rise of the Empress” will be released on 29th September 2014 via Peaceville records
1. Rise of the Empress
2. The congregation
3. A prisoner unleashed
4. Darkness encroaching
5. Sven’s tower
6. Erased and rewritten
7. The ecstatic and the sorrow
9. Obsession with the Empress
10. Ours to burn
White Empress are:
Mary Zimmer – Vocals
Paul Allender – Guitar
Jeremy Kohnmann – Guitar
Will Graney – Keyboards
Chela Harper – Bass
Zac Morris – Drums