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The Empire Shall Fall - "Awaken" (CD)

The Empire Shall Fall - "Awaken" CD cover image

"Awaken" track listing:

1. Awaken
2. Lords of War
3. Voices Forming Weapons
4. Choir of Angels
5. We the People
6. These Colors Bleed
7. Our Own
8. The Kingdom

Reviewed by on December 16, 2009

"Awaken is the most passionate and politically charged album I’ve heard in years."

“Our lives. The passion we have inside defines who we are.” I couldn’t picture a better way to open this album than with those words. Awaken is the most passionate and politically charged album I’ve heard in years. For those who were a fan of Killswitch Engage’s major-label debut “Alive or Just Breathing,” boy, do I have a treat for you.

Jesse Leach has a new project out called The Empire Shall Fall and it’s a breath of fresh air. The music, the lyrics, the overall style is something that the metal scene is lacking these days. That would be originality. This album is brutal one moment and then mellow and inspirational the next. Hints of metal, hardcore and even jazz are part of what makes this a great debut album for the band.

After Jesse and Seemless came onto the scene, people were flooding the rumor mill. Many have said his voice was shot and that he couldn’t scream anymore. Well, this album proves that’s not the case. Vocally, this is Leach’s best work yet. Musically, this is a very obvious attempt to stand out and the musicianship shines on every track.

Most bands these days try to write simple or catchy songs. This album goes in the opposite direction. At times it seems like organized chaos. Odd time signatures, breakdowns that normally wouldn’t be accompanied by clean vocals and a few minute-long jazz inspired bridges are all part of the charm here.

My three favorite tracks off of this album are “Lords of War”, “Voices Forming Weapons” and “We The People.” If you listen to the lyrics on all three of these tracks it is obvious what the record is about. The overall theme is revolution. The words sum up the disgust felt towards the government as a whole.

On “We The People,” which is my favorite track, the words are so powerful. One excerpt that is very powerful to me, personally, is this:

Let them fear us.
Fear a revolution.
Damaged us deliberately.
Caused us our complacency.
They keep us down.
Killing us in secrecy.
Is this a democracy or just a front?

I suggest that every fan of metal take a listen to this album. It’s different, it’s heavy, it’s political and a great first effort from the group. The album is only available online but it’s inexpensive as well..

Highs: Unique sound, powerful lyrics, excellent musicianship, great vocals.

Lows: Only eight tracks on the album.

Bottom line: Fans of Killswitch Engage and Seemless will love this album. It's political, heavy and without a doubt unique.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)