April 15, 2011

Music Review: The Empire Shall Fall - Awaken

AwakenNot exactly a new album, but for some reason or another it is only now that it has crossed my path. With that said, I have a bone to pick with all of you. Why didn't you tell me? Huh? Why did you wait so long to let me in on the secret? In all seriousness, The Empire Shall Fall is not the second coming or anything like that, but it is a sound that is right up my alley with a flavor that feels fresh, original and passionate. It is just what the metalcore genre needs and if you are a champion of the great things that genre has to offer, this is an absolute must have. Sure, there are touches of Meshuggah throughout, but there is nothing wrong with letting influences shine a bit, particularly when they are of the Meshuggah caliber.

Now, there is something else notable about The Empire Shall Fall's debut release. What is that you ask? Well, it is the return of Jesse Leach! You know, the original lead singer to that mildly popular act Killswitch Engage. His last band, Seemless, has gone its separate ways and from its ashes has risen The Empire Shall Fall, and they have delivered an album that is like a breath of fresh air and reminds us just how good Jesse Leach can be.

Yes, this is a bit of a Jesse Leach love fest, but simply put, this is the best I can remember him sounding. He proves the naysayers wrong, his voice isn't shot and he can still unleash blood curdling screams while also delivering some emotion filled clean vocals. There is something about his performance throughout Awaken that is really special. You know how when you hear a singer and you can tell they are 100% emotionally invested in what they are singing, whether you know the words or not? That's Jesse Leach here. His styles run the full range from clean to blood-curdling and is utterly convincing every step of the way.

As we all know it takes more than good vocals to make a good album, and as good as they are here the rest of the band needs some recognition. Musically, this is a solid release that is firmly entrenched in metalcore with clear calls to Meshuggah while still feeling like their own band with other tastes of punk and jazz. All of it played with superb technical skill.  Jake Davenport and Marcus de Lisle deliver the guitars and they go anywhere and everywhere from a twisted snarl of distortion to clean and jazzy singular lines. I love the guitars here the clipped lines, the smooth transitions, the desire to stop typing and bang my head is at times difficult to resist. Backing them is the rhythm tandem of Nick Sollecito on bass and Jeff Pitts on drums. Not a slouch in the bunch.

Metalcore is an exceedingly familiar genre which has had more downs than highs in recent years as the "scene" has shifted. I still have a lot of affection for the style even if it has become harder t find the gems. Thankfully we have The Empire Shall Fall to help the genre out and show there is still plenty of life left. Really, this is an album that takes the familiar genre and executes perfectly with that balance of heavy and soft, of technique and emotion that made us all fall in love with it in the first place.

Highly Recommended.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment