The Empire Strikes “High Tide”
We don’t know what they put in the water in Sweden and Finland but that part of the world seems capable of producing so many great rock n roll bands. The latest of those to come to our attention is The Empire Strikes. This is actually their second album and promises to prove that rock n roll is alive, well and kicking.
It’s certainly clear from opener “All Hope Is Gone” that they are a band who want to rock. Together with “Dirty Water” it’s a pleasant reminder of band like The Hellacopters or The Supersuckers. There’s a great simplicity to a song like “The Last Pirate” which actually sounds like a hard rock version of a rockabilly track.
Critically though, The Empire Strikes don’t just represent some kind of ‘retro’ sound. There’s a more modern flourish to songs like “Devils Gospel For The Wicked And The Rude”, “Take Me Out” and “You Won’t Go Away”. These are the songs where the band really allow the melodies to shine and are the ones most likely to instantly snare new fans.
The album avoids repetition by going from the wider soundscape of “Road To Extinction” to the full out rock n roll of “Rid Of You” or the darker more seductive tone of “Shallow Grave”. That’s important as it allows them to stand out against other bands delivering ‘just’ a classic rock sound. Not that there is anything wrong with a straight up rock song as they demonstrate with “The Fix” and “Wonderland”.
Having been in a bit of a doldrums, there is perhaps signs of an emerging and energetic new rock scene. The latest releases from Grande Royale and The Empire Strikes are certainly further evidence of that. The Empire Strikes can certainly be added to the list of bands who are bringing fresh blood into the art of delivering driving rock n roll that is full of passion and energy.