Empire 21 is a new Swedish act featuring some native heavyweights in the hard rock and heavy metal venue, including CJ Grimmark (Rob Rock, Narnia, Fullforce, et al) on guitar and Tobias Enbert (Darkwater, Harmony) on drums. However, the one to watch in the band maybe Ricard Hulteke, a natural melodic vocalist with smooth voice and good range for rock and metal.
Empire 21 sound also fits into that blur between melodic hard rock and heavy metal. The thickness of the riffs and the deep bottom end of the rhythm section may give some cause to a 'modern' rock or metal label. But their sound is hardly harsh or intrusive as current trends go. Instead, melody, harmony, and groove are all active and ambitious across this album, from vocal to guitar arrangements, admidst the hard and heavy wrapper. You'll find this within I Can't, This Is My Story, 100 Nights or Heard It All. Yet, that last song trips you up at the start with it's classical piano intro. Groove and metal heaviness combine any many songs as well. All Is Lost, Would You, and No Matter The Winds of Change have those sharp riffs and rumbling bottom end spun through catchy groove. All the while, Grimmark rips off some feisty solos and Hulteke keeps pace, raising above the heaviness. Althought sometimes, if only briefly, the density of the arrangement can squelch his vocals as within Traveler and Empire 21. Basically, then, Empire 21's sound is an interesting and entertaining one, putting melodic heavy metal in a contemporary context that should appeal both to fans of the both old and new schools. Recommended.
Empire 21's sound is an interesting and entertaining one, putting melodic heavy metal in a contemporary context that should appeal both to fans of the both old and new schools. Recommended.
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