Really good new label Pride & Joy Music are set to re-release EMPIRE’s four albums throughout 2017 and start off with the band’s debut "Hypnotica", including 3 previously unreleased tracks.
One of the best hard rock / melodic metal outfits appeared at the beginning of the past decade, Empire were formed by guitarist Rolf Munkes (Majesty, Razorback) and on this album there was a stellar line-up.
Put together excellent vocalists Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring Of Fire) and Lance King (ex-Balance Of Power), plus legendary bassist Neil Murray (ex- Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), drummers Gerald Klos & Anders Johansson (ex- Stratovarius, Yngwie) and on keyboards Deep Purple’s Don Airey, and you have a terrific crew here.
Lance King handles the vocals on the majority of the songs, with highlights including ‘You’re All That I Am Looking For’, sounding like prime time Triumph and it has a big, sing-a-long chorus.
‘Bad Bad Boy’ rocks like with great catchiness and a suitably fast and furious solo from Rolf Munkes. Speaking of Munkes playing, he gets a chance to shine on the instrumental ’A Different Sign’.
We have a classic sounding hard rock number in 'Fool In Love' (a bit of vintage Whitesnake) and the bit bluesy melody on the solid 'Another Place, Another Time'.
Mark Boals adds a little more edge to the proceedings on ‘Into The Light’, a fast paced riff-driven tune. There's shades of Europe's Spread Your Wings with its harmony filled chorus and listen out for the tasty Hammond playing of Don Airey on this one.
This re-issue adds three bonus songs, namely the fun rocker ‘Dogtown Shuffle’, the effective instrumental ‘Take A Look Around’, and the acoustic version of ‘Spread Your Wings’, well worth hearing as creates a different atmosphere than the original.
Empire was a terrific band and all their albums were like an an oasis in the desert in a time when this genre was just resurging again from the underground (early 2000's).
If you missed out "Hypnotica" first time around you need to grab a copy of this re-issue, a highly enjoyable mix of melodic hard rock and 80s-styled melodic metal, now with added bonus songs.
01 - Hypnotica
02 - Fool in Love
03 - Into the Light
04 - You're All That I'm Looking For
05 - Spread My Wings
06 - Bad Bad Boy
07 - Here I Am
08 - I Always Will Be There
09 - A Different Sign
10 - Shelter
11 - Back to Me
12 - Another Place, Another Place
13 - Spread My Wings (Acoustic)
14 - Take a Look Around
15 - Dogtown Shuffle
Mark Boals - vocals
Lance King - vocals
Rolf Munkes - guitars
Neil Murray - bass
Gerald Klos - drums
Anders Johansson - drums
Don Airey - keyboards
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