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Dark Empire: Humanity Dethroned
Power Metal/Progressive Death/Thrash
Rating: 3.75/5.0

I have to admit I got really frustrated listening to ‘Humanity Dethroned,’ the second release from New Jersey-based Dark Empire. Every time I started to really get into it, I’d hear something that I didn’t care for. Although there is a ton of great stuff on this CD, there is so much variety in all of their songs that it doesn’t always work. For me, the culprit in almost every case is the theatric choruses.

The band’s abilities are obvious from the first moments of opener ‘Eyes Of Defiance.’ Guitarists Matt Moliti and Drew Atwood seamlessly shift the music through genre after genre. Whether it’s the thrashier ‘Salvation Denied’ or the Dream Theatre-like instrumental “Prelude,” Dark Empire’s axmen always bring their A-game to the party. They also pitch in some decent death vocals when asked. Their blistering solos will thrill air guitarists everywhere and highlight every track on this disc. The voice of singer Jens Carlsson, also of Persuader fame, bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kursch - the main reason why the overall sound of ‘Humanity Dethroned’ could be described as a less-symphonic, slightly heavier Blind Guardian.

There really is a lot to absorb here and the disc does get better with each listen. But all things considered, ‘Humanity Dethroned’ is just too dramatic for me to consider it to be a great CD. I do however recommend that almost all metal fans check out Dark Empire. There is so much diversity on this disc that you’re bound to find something on it that you like. Unfortunately you’ll probably also find something that you don’t. I’d love to hear these guys streamline their sound and stick to the things that they do best. But in the case of ‘Humanity Dethroned,’ a little less could have been a lot more.
- Tim Carroll

In Short

All things considered, ‘Humanity Dethroned’ is just too dramatic for me to consider it to be a great CD. I do however recommend that almost all metal fans check out Dark Empire.

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