The Empire Shall Fall: Awaken

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The Empire Shall Fall: Awaken
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The Empire Shall Fall: Awaken
Jazz Fusion, Metalcore, Progressive Metal
Angle Side Side Records, Restricted Releases (2010)
November 17th, 2009
Release length: 39:51
Myspace
Remember Jessee Leach? The original vocalist of the Metalcore act Killswitch Engage? Sadly, not many do remember him outside of his time with that band. Many wouldn’t even know that, since then, he has not done much in the line of screaming, and that his recent band Seemless had gone on hiatus. Well, almost out of nowhere, he’s back, and brought along some very talented friends to form The Empire Shall Fall. Originally formed back in 2008, Awaken marks the band’s debut full-length effort, with the only prior material to it being four demo tracks that went onto their Myspace page. The band incorporates a somewhat Progressive approach to Metalcore, as well as incorporates some Jazz Fusion moments. This release isn’t too far from the original Killswitch Engage material, but there’s enough unique appeal to the music to make it stand out on it’s own.

Awaken starts off oddly enough, introducing the listener to the more Progressive approach of the music on the album, and for the most part, it’s really good. There’s some Jazz thrown into the mix, yes, but it all works well together with the more Progressive Metal approach and ultimately will have your head banging until the breakdown, which will probably make you want to jump ship. It sounds simply god awful, especially in that song, and simply feels tacked on. The vocals here are not quite what one would expect, as the screaming takes on a much more Wayne Static [Static-X] approach to them, and the singing is of a higher, more nasal octave then many would expect. Luckily, the aforementioned screaming isn’t constant, but acts more like a specific style used at certain times on songs. “Choirs of Angels”, for example, has a rougher screaming style that just sounds menacing and even has some gutteral in the background at random times, as well as marks the first song on this album to not have a chorus that is sung, but is screamed from start and nearly to the finish, kicking in during the breakdown of the song, as well as a spoken word section during a random Jazz moment about half way through, with some random shouting that hits once in a while, including the Egyptian-sounding guitar solo that isn’t all that impressive and acts more as a bridge.

There seriously is no denying that shades of the material off the first two Killswitch Engage full-lengths are present in this recording. Many of the tactics utilized on those albums by Leach are here, including the distorted spoken word sections, which appear in plenty of the songs including “Choirs of Angels”, but prodominantly during “We the People”. Many songs will even share some musical traits, such as “We the People” which has plenty of moments where the song “My Last Serenade” will be belting out in the back of your skull with the only real saving graces being the random Jazz section, bridge, and breakdown that hit all at once about two thirds of the way through, as well as a chorus that is a bit finds harmonized screaming vocals that take the place of the singing that hits every chorus outside of “Choirs of Angels”. But, even with dom of those similarities, there’s still enough unique elements and fantastic songs here to make any Metalcore fan’s mouth water. Outside of “Choirs of Angels”, there’s also “Our Own”, which is a great song with a very uplifting musical approach, but the breakdowns that occur during the song generally sound as horrible as the one on “Awaken” thanks to them clashing against the already established sound of the song.

Awaken is definitely an interesting album to say the least. While it gets off to a really rough start, there’s plenty of madness going on in the music with a nice unique approach to Metalcore, bring some fresh air to the over crowded sea of clones out there. While some work needs to be done on the breakdowns and the transitions in and out of them, as well as perhaps backing away from some particular elements such as the spoken word moments of the album, and doing more then scream a song then sing the chorus, this makes for a formidable debut album for The Empire Shall Fall, and is definitely worth taking a look at.

01. Awaken – 5:05
02. Lords of ar – 3:40
03. Voices Forming Weapons – 4:11
04. Choirs of Angels – 6:04
05. We the People – 5:53
06. These Colors Bleed – 4:36
07. Our Own – 5:26
08. The Kingdom – 4:55
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

The Empire Shall Fall
The Empire Shall Fall

Digital review copy of this release provided by Restricted Releases.