The Empire Shall Fall


Written by: AP on 09/04/2010 16:45:44

There is intent behind the moniker Jesse Leach (formerly of Killswitch Engage and Seemless) has chosen for his new band, The Empire Shall Fall. Little tackled on this debut offering is not political, but while the ails of modern man have proven easy fodder for hardcore lyricists in the past, The Empire Shall Fall take it to another level. "Awaken" is not some elitist, dumbed down powerchord punk; it is a brilliant infusion of metalcore, hardcore and progressive rock with few likes.

Opener and title track "Awaken" lays out a statement of purpose, Jesse showcasing the full might of his pipes with the opening lines "our lives / the passion we have inside / defines who we are." From this point on it is clear that for The Empire Shall Fall, the message is as important as the music, which is why at times aesthetics are set aside to make room for Jesse's sermons. Indeed, the focal point here is Jesse, his lyrics and the plethora of vocal styles he employs, from growling and hardcore influenced shouting to powerful, emotive singing and even spoken word. Compare them to those found on Killswitch Engage's first two albums, and the difference is enormous, however, whether that's due to production or having grown as a vocalist is for you to decide.

Instrumentally the album is unorthodox and occasionally downright absurd. Most interesting is the technical, asynchronous drumming that Jeff Pitts lays down, but guitarists Jake Davenport and Marcus De Lisle are not left in the shadow either. They alternate between beautiful, harmonised melodies and muted staccato, jagged Meshuggah riffs, and ballsy Unearth aggression; however, the section changes are sometimes too bizarre ("Awaken" and "These Colors Bleed" for example) for their own good. What gives the music its unique character though, is the incorporation of unconventional progressive passages reminiscent of Mastodon and Baroness in songs like "Choir of Angels", "We the People" and closer "The Kingdom".

There is no denying that The Empire Shall Fall are rather brash and intrusive when it comes to their ideals, and this could be the dividing line for those not interested in socio-political affairs, but there are risks taken here that present immediate rewards to the album's longevity. Granted, "Awaken" is not the catchiest piece on the market, but it is performed with enough heart and fervor to pardon most of its shortcomings. There is a sense of passion and intelligence on the album that seems to be increasingly more rare these days, enough so to hopefully inspire other bands in this synthesised genre.


Download: Awaken, Choir of Angels, We the People, These Colors Bleed
For the fans of: Across The Sun, Killswitch Engage, Seemless, Unearth
Listen: MySpace

Release date 17.11.2009
Angle Side Side

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