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Album Review: Glue by EMP!RE

UK rock act EMP!RE release their debut album Glue on 7th September via Silent Cult. The album is all about the band being true to themselves as guitarist James L’esteve explains: “This album for us is about sticking together, being in this together, despite all the challenges. We have created music that we wanted to hear, carved the songs out of things and influences that we are excited by.”

It feels like this debut album has been a long time in the coming. We first got hooked by their 2016 EP Our Simple Truths and thought the band were on the cusp of the big time. They still might be, but the UK rock scene has changed. EMP!RE have changed too, the sound isn’t as immediate, it isn’t as poppy, the choruses aren’t as huge. They’ve changed in a different way to the UK rock mainstream.

This is a good thing.

On Glue EMP!RE are being the band they want to be. They’re creating the music they want to create. Who cares if this doesn’t follow the mainstream rock trends? This is the sound of a band carving out their own niche.

This new version of EMP!RE sounds more technical, more ambitious, less confined by genre. It’s instantaneous in a different way from previous material. The guitars sound huge, sweeping in and taking no passengers, then you have Joe Green’s commanding and electrifying vocal that is almost peerless. There’s echoes of Coheed and Cambria, but they’re faint, EMP!RE are their own beast.

‘Sour Tastes’ and opener ‘Colour Of Shame’ are the two go to points. The former revels in big anthemic vocals and forthright riffs while the latter is a raucous and fast paced statement of intent. ‘Miss Fortune’ has post-hardcore tones amongst a prog-math riffs and alt rock hooks. It, like the band in general, is genre defying. It’s too varied, elements from the full spectrum of rock are included. This is what makes EMP!RE an exciting and enthralling prospect.

Single ‘My Party, My Rules’ is full of fist pumping energy and an instant likeability but it’s in the more abrasive and off kilter tracks like ‘Rewrite’ and ‘Time Ain’t No Healer’ that the band excel and come into their own. It’s when the riffs and harnessed chaos meet Green’s vocal that you think EMP!RE are something special, vibrant and fresh – just what UK rock needs.

AD Rating 7.5/10

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