Empire - Hypnotica

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Lion Music
Catalog Number: LMC 2110-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:42:00

Empire is a melodic rock band that features some big names indeed - some permanently on the album and others guest musicians. These guests get to play whole songs and not just a note here and a note there.

Firstly, let's take care of all of the musicians (because there is a lot of them). Take Lance King (v) from Balance of Power, Mark Boals (v) from Yngwie Malmsteen/Ring of Fire, Anders Johansson (d) from HammerFall and brother to Jens, Neil Murray (b) who has played with Whitesnake/Black Sabbath, drummer Gerald Kloos, and Don Airey (k) who has played with top musicians his whole life including Cozy Powell, Ozzy Osborne, & Gary Moore. To top it all off, Mr. Rolf Munkes on guitars who has lead a mainly strong instrumental career and who is currently playing with Udo's brother Peter Dirkschneider in Vanize.

Lance King contributes to 80% of the vocal duties and he continues with his 80s sounding voice that fits in nicely with this 80s sounding album. In fact, he sounds a lot like Tony Harnell from TNT at times (take "You're All That I'm Looking For"). It's quite scary. Once again, Lion Music seem to be releasing some good albums dominated by strong guitarists like Munkes (Masi and Cyril Achard also come to mind) and this is no exception. The emotional instrumental "A Different Sign" is one of the better pieces that leads into one of the better tracks from Lance in "Shelter." Other worthwhile tracks include the repetitive "Another Place, Another Time" and the opener "Fool In Love." Whilst the talent is there, it sometimes lacks a bit of flair and passion - the problem lying with usually talented vocalist Lance King. With Balance of Power, he has more involvement than on here so he sounds a touch removed. Although I'm sure that if Empire do a follow-up with Lance King, I'd assume the chemistry between band members would become more apparent. The songs with Mark Boals are clearly more involved and moving ("Into The Light" and "I will Always Be There"). Mark forces his voice whilst Lance is more relaxed - and that is what this CD does to you, it relaxes you and sounds a little reserved. It is also let down by some fairly meaningless lyrics that may sound good on an exciting album but not on an album like this.

Musically, Empire are sold on the eighties phenomena. From groove-oriented rock elements to the song structures to the lyrics and even to the fade outs (yeah, remember fade outs in tracks? ;-P). It's all here.

Overall then, Empire is a nice band with nice music that is nicely played. Hypnotica, thus, is a nice CD. Do you like nice?

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Hynotica (0:23) / Fool In Love (3:40) / Into The Light (4:17) / You're All That I'm Looking For (3:58) / Spread My Wings (5:05) / Bad Bad Boy (3:38) / Here I Am (4:43) / I Will Always Be There (4:43) / A Different Sign (2:01) / Shelter (4:08) / Back To Me (4:08) / Another Place, Another Time (3:52)

Rolf Munkes - guitars and bass
Lance King - vocals (2, 4 - 7, 10-12)
Mark Boals - vocals (3, 8)
Neil Murray - bass
Gerald Kloos - drums (2, 4-8, 10, 11)
Anders Johansson - drums (3, 12)
Don Airey - keyboards (5)

Hypnotica (2001)
Trading Souls (2003)

Genre: Melodic Rock-AOR

Origin VA

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.empire-rock.com
Hits: 1148
Language: english


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