The Empire Shall Fall was formed in 2008 by former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jessie Leach, and Awaken is their debut release on the upstart Angle Side Side label (bassist Nick Sollecito's label). Your first clue to what TESF is all about is found in that first sentence, and not. Awaken is hardly KsE, and why would Leach want to bother with his old band anyway. Still, TESF is basically American metalcore with some interesting nuances.
First, Leach tears it up with some hybrid of hardcore and death vocals. Ultimately, Excepting These Colors Bleed, his performance is somewhere between predictable and hugely annoying. More on that later. Second, there is some attempt at melody and harmony here, which makes Awaken a bit more palpable then the usual 'name your 'hardcore' fare.' Third, and worthy of some huge kudos, TESF delves into some true moments of progressive technicality here; take note of the opener Awaken, Choirs of Angels, and We the People.
Where Awaken fails is in the usual spot that most metalcore bands succumb, the vocals. In terms of modern American heavy metal, regardless if you like the hardcore saturation in vocals or compositional substance, the music on Awaken is quite clever and a more than subtle slap at current trends. Frankly, the band should probably toss Leach, find a better (clean) singer, and carry on with their more than interesting style. They would be much more interesting, engaging, and revolutionary. (But God forbid if they should buck current trends. What was I thinking?)
Yet, this commentary could all be mere sophistry. Considering the substance of American heavy metal is some construct of hardcore metal and grouchy vocals, then The Empire Shall Fall is the normal fare. Therefore, we can conclude that TESF brings nothing new to the table with Awaken. Or does it? You decide. I'll simply give it a close to average grade for the hints of progressive creativity within. Let's watch what happens on part two.
We can conclude that TESF brings nothing new to the table with Awaken. Or does it? You decide. I'll simply give it an average grade for the hints of progressive creativity within.