The 55th band to take centre stage in our Ones To Watch feature are gargantuan-sounding Northampton quartet EMPYRE.
EMPYRE are: Henrik Steenholdt (vocals and guitar), Did Coles (lead guitar), Grant Hockley (bass) and Elliot Bale (drums).
In keeping with their somewhat grandiose name, everything about EMPYRE’s beguiling music is colossal sounding. From the very offset, the Northampton four-piece’s current single ‘New Republic’ is case in point; opening with crunching riffs and pulsing stabs of bass and drums, nine seconds in singer Henrik Steenholdt blasts out the ominous words “Time will tell / War breeds Hell!” in his impressive, gravelly pipes before the song builds in intensity and magnificence.
Musically hard-hitting yet extremely infectious, ‘New Republic’ packs a potent lyrical punch too as it addresses the turbulent global political climate. EMPYRE describe it as “a retaliation to the crazy world we are currently living in. Where ideologies force humans to perform inhuman acts against each other in the name of religious theocracy or political authority.” Heavy stuff.
The powerful single whets the appetite nicely for EMPYRE’s debut album ‘Self Aware’, which is unleashed to the world on Friday 5th July. Boasting 11 tracks, the album showcases all of EMPYRE’s musical facets, ranging from the gritty (opener ‘My Bad’) to the upbeat (‘Drive’) to the abrasive (‘Too Little Too Late’) and the atmospheric (closer ‘Homegrown’). As the band profess, each track is lyrically engaging and displays an unapologetic unique sound.
EMPYRE comment: “We feel we have encapsulated the essence of Empyre in its present guise in eleven tracks. Subtlety to anthemic. Lyrically ‘Self-Aware’ is an album with a dark tone, however the tracks conceal positive messages. Musically we try to hit a point between a soulful, melodic tone, whilst keeping it heavy enough to shake the foundations now and then. We’d describe it as a combination of gritty, sometimes haunting vocals with captivating guitar hooks and solos.”
Watch the video for ‘New Republic’ right here:
Ahead of the release of ‘Self Aware’, EMPYRE play an acoustic show on the unsigned stage in the pre-show entertainment area of Birmingham Arena before Eagles’ show on Friday night (28th June). They also rock Front Row Fest in Fritwell on Saturday 29th June and the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on Sunday 28th July.
The ‘Self Aware’ track-listing is as follows:
1. My Bad
3. New Republic
4. Too Close
5. Just a Ride
7. Only Way Out
8. Cut to the Core
9. Too Little Too Late
10. Something Remains