Empyre -“Self Aware” (www.empyre.co.uk)
Battle Helm Rating
Ballsy Brit rock with plenty of heart to go with their fire, Empyre are fast rising up the ranks as festival rockers to take note of! Formed only 3 years ago, this 4 piece have drawn from the classic rock gods of the 70s for their fire but equally have a hint of Seattle grunge melancholia in their soul to have everyone taking about this long awaited debut. And its well worth it – if anything for the fact that it comes across as an album you’d expect from a veteran name band, which I guess is sorta true given the number of prior groups these guys have played in. From its amazing sound, “Self Aware” equally impresses through its musicianship echoing the flair of Eric Clapton in the guitars, while Henrik Steenholdt’s heartfelt vocals definitely made me think of Pearl Jam on more than one occasion. Likewise, when Empyre choose to hit the power pedal, there’s ample enough gusto to more than warrant an aggressive headbang! Opening with ‘My Bad’, the atmospheric guitars of Steenholdt and Did Coles slowly build, adding their warm melodies to Elliot Bale’s own drums before exploding in a mass of catchy energy and passion in this powerfully contrasting track that also exudes plenty of solo guitar work both soothing and frantic. With Steenholdt stretching his pipes on the politically punchy ‘New Republic’ with its massive, air punching groove cannot be understated in its festival embrace, yet the classy use of more tranquil aspects here n there only adds to the atmosphere, while well placed flowing guitar work only makes you wonder about their arranging genius. With its thumping beats, sassy licks and dirty riffs on ‘Too Little Too Late’, the rock energy is just pulsating in the heavy guitars, while the use of the more soulful chorus works its brilliance in amazingly attesting to Empyre’s song writing capability before the song launches into full heads down mode as Grant Hockley brings his massive bass to bear – excellent. From packing out their local The King Billy to rocking out at Hard Rock Hell Ibiza, Empyre have indeed made a huge statement here so definitely check this one out!