Building on the best and worst parts of their debut album, The Empire Shall Fall returns with Volume 1 - Solar Plexus, the first in a trilogy of EPs. These albums will be releasing on vinyl and digital download. Those who pre-order all three will receive a free copy of the final full-length CD compilation. The first EP contains four vocal songs and three instrumentals. Though they're not exactly segues, The Martyr's Song could be.
What made 2010's Awaken even the least bit interesting was TESF's latent progressive nuances. Their desire to get technical on this disc, akin to their peers Meshuggah, makes their music rise above their mundane and less interesting metalcore foundation. These technical elements are found best in the first two short instrumentals, and more notably in As the City Sleeps and The First Redemption, and less in the opener The Genesis. As the City Sleeps and The First Redemption proves that the band can offer clever arrangements, blending melody with intensity and technical intrigue, and that Killswitch Engage vocalist Jessie Leach can actually sing. He should do more clean singing as he's very good.
Unfortunately, thanks to all the 'core' riffage and Leach's incessant screeching (the very things that make metalcore a pesky pain in the ass genre), Volume 1 - Solar Plexus gets beat up rather than blossoming. Still, the ground is fertile for further advancement, and in lesser hands this album would be a real disappoinment. The Empire Shall Fall, somehow, makes it work and, somehow, suggests metalcore may have reason for viability. Did I really say that last thing?
With their increasing technical and varied arrangements, The Empire Shall Fall, somehow, makes the metalcore of Volume 1 - Solar Plexus work and, somehow, suggests metalcore may have reason for viability.