Angel Side Side 2009
Make no mistake, there is intent behind the name The Empire Shall Fall have chosen for themselves. Fronted by former Killswitch Engage/Seemless frontman Jesse Leach, little tackled on this debut offering is not socio-politically inclined. But while topics like corruption, apathy and all the other ails of modern government/society have proven easy fodder for hardcore lyricists in the past, The Empire Shall Fall take it to a much more epic scale.
To this end the band utilize a vast arsenal of aural weaponry, whether it be the unorthodox technical riffing of Meshuggah, the burly in your face aggression of groups like Unearth or the domesticated equivalent of At The Gates ala Killswitch Engage and Darkest Hour; The Empire Shall Fall deliver a competent and surprisingly diverse package on “Awaken“.
Indeed their influences may be a bit transparent, but the groups penchant for complicated songwriting clearly makes up for it. Whether it be an uncharacteristically jazzy spoken word bridge or a husky soulful chorus reminiscent of Seemless; there are risks taken here that present immediate rewards to the albums longevity. That said, there is no denying that The Empire Shall Fall can be a bit brash when it comes to their ideals.
Much like Rage Against The Machine the message is as important as the music and the goal is to rally and motivate, rather than to merely entertain. This could be a dividing line to those not interested in such affairs and while the music certainly eases the lyrical battering, the album is admittedly not an exceptionally unique affair. What it is though is an interesting combination of styles that is performed with enough heart and fervor to pardon its shortcomings.
Sure there are a few parts that probably should have been left out and some song ideas being recycled in varying configurations. But there’s also a sense of passion and intelligence present on “Awaken” that seems to be increasingly more rare these days. Enough so to hopefully inspire other bands to also rise up and be counted as well.
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