Here at TWSH we’ve been making friends and reconnecting with old friends, so here’s a mixture of the two in Empire Warning. Our Editor Kris and guitarist/vocalist Ben used to go to a theatre group together when they were wee, called YoungBlood. But for both of them music has always been a first love, so here we are reuniting them through this review of Ben’s groove metal friends and co-musicians at Empire Warning.
Empire Warning have been together for about 3-4 years now slowly making themselves known on the live circuit and attempting to build a brand new metal scene in London. There are 5 of them all together: Elsio (vocals), Ben (vocals/guitar), Grant (guitar), Adam (bass) and Steve (drums).
The EP opens with the track Will I Ever which has a very classic driving guitar riff and some great ‘screamo’ moments that have great depth and tone to them. Unlike other screamo/metal acts we can actually understand the lyrics! This is interspersed with some lovely sung vocal moments at the chorus which gives a sense of balance to the track (remember what we said about Drenge being too heavy all the way through bloodsports?). This opener is a classic metal track that encompasses all aspects of the genre even with a bit of whispering thrown in near the end and some fab guitar solo/shreading moments in there as well.
Borrowed Time has a slightly more murky ‘we;re walking through a dark forest/corridor where it might be dangerous’ feel right at the beginning. The atmosphere is broken about 35 seconds in with a driving bass/guitar/drum rhythm and enter the screamo vocals that start slow and then become faster rhythmically leading us into the chorus. Empire Warning stick with their formula from Will I Ever using the chorus as a good space to temporarily lift the track and break the heavy atmosphere. The break in this track is definitely handed over to their drummer to showcase his athletic ability and increases the tension again before being broken with a few triplets that lead into a brilliant headbang/circle pit finish: can’t wait to see that happen in September.
Broken my Sadness shows the softer side to Empire Warning, like all good metal bands they’re secretly big softies underneath all the big hair and vocals. Here we get to hear the range of Elsio’s vocals and just how high Ben can sing in support (always knew you could potentially be a falsetto!). If only Buffy were still around I’m pretty sure this would be a track that would have been featured at the Bronze. Soft and gentle yet still with the meaty metal texture on the chorus and a beautiful rock guitar solo in the middle.
I Know is where this EP really gets exciting. Lots of powers chords and a driving drum rhythm and a shocker when we hit 30 seconds in and we get RAP! So here the guys have reversed their style with singing first, followed by a rap/funk section and then a little bit of screamo. I love it when a band breaks out their stereotyped genre to mix in other influences, it makes music exciting. We even get a softer moment in this track, with a tiny bit of creepy breathing (I gotta be honest, I did get freaked when listening to it on my headphones the first time). This is definitely my favourite track on the EP, there’s so much going on that there’s no getting bored but it doesn’t get to the point where it’s confusing either. This is how Willy Wonka’s factory should sound.
Take Me Out to War slows things back down again with some gorgeous harmonies on the chorus before a rousing finish that any good EP and indeed any good gig needs.
It’s so difficult to be specific about things that I love when in my head I’m going ‘I love that bit, and that bit, and oo it’s changed I love that bit too!’ Honestly the lads have done an excellent job on this EP, Bill and Ted would be proud!
Now remember they’re EP launch night on September 5th, make it down if you can, there are more details on their Facebook. If you can’t make it down then support the guys by downloading the EP when it’s released, details will be on their Facebook nearer the time.
Fingers crossed we’ll see you lovelies down there and that this is the night that launches Empire Warning to the top!