There’s no doubt about it, Star Wars is a gigantic franchise whose popularity could only really be compared to that of the Marvel/DC franchises of recent dates. Although for the latter, you can’t say that they’ve had any metal bands be formed because of their status. Enter Galactic Empire who are getting ready to bring you massive amounts of shred with some of the most nostalgic feelings running through your veins whilst you’re in that moshpit in your head.
Once the first track kicks in with the ‘Main Theme’, that feeling that normal listeners may have about a bunch of metal dudes ruining your favourite soundtrack are squashed. The precision in the guitar playing with the lead following the main premises of the track whilst the rhythm boosts it up in a technical metal/djent sort of fashion and make it such a unique experience. The cleaner sections which are more invoking with the electronic sounds that boost straight back into the full instrumentation of the band from front to back. The same is said for ‘Imperial March’, the second song on the album which shows off their way of keeping mostly to the original track and not straying too far to unconventional tactics, but still having a small notion of their own originality embedded into the track, which is mostly down to Boba Sett’s drumming capabilities.
Probably most people’s only redeeming factor of Episode I, ‘Duel Of The Fates’ brings this amazing build with the bass and drums combining and creating something truly magical. The choir vocals over the top of the track with the key changes and guitar lead makes for a really sublime combination. Once again, the same mindset flies through this track and the rhythm section boost out an amazing amount of bass in listening to it. ‘The Force Theme’ keeps that amazingly detailed and beautiful lead, with a quiet tremolo picking in the background adding a really nice atmosphere to the almost two minute track, whilst the rhythm becomes more minimalist than anything. It’s a nice showcase of their clean sound before being thrusted into the action packed ‘The Asteroid Field’ with the immediate guitar harmonies being a great showcase on this track. The four minute song throws a lot at you in terms on trying to keep up with it but it works pretty much in its favour with once again the drums at points boosting up small nuances of the guitars.
The guitar effect right at the beginning of ‘Battle Of The Heroes’ serves as the main underline for it, but the entire track instrumentally could be placed into a monstrously epic final boss battle with the double kick and guitar rhythm working together simplistically whilst the choir vocals heighten up more and more as it progresses. As it finishes on a build up, you get transported to the extra groovy ‘Cantina Band’ which does near enough what you expect it to do. It’s heightened use of following what the jazz musicians did back in the day is amazing and gives you a prime example of what a really positive djent band would sound like. Moving into ‘Ben’s Death / Tie Fighter Attack’, it brings a massive flurry of blast beats and double bass kick and as always they have small throwbacks of the same riff. Musically, this track feels a bit underwhelming to what has been produced from the first half of the song before the second half feels more at home and more well rounded with the sensation that it belongs on the record.
The final three tracks also bring an amazing approach to what you have already heard. ‘Across The Stars’ has such a strong grip on what it is bringing to you. Whilst it felt like some of the more cleaner parts could have shone on a bit longer, the entirety of the song feels epic and grips you so hard. It seems to build and build before it reaches its climax and falls back to where it started with the intro of the clean chords and guitar lead leading the charge. The whole take on ‘The Forest Battle’ goes on a lot more of a technical and dissonant approach with the band going on a full speed assault with no one showing signs of letting up! For the penultimate track, it undoubtedly gives you another onslaught of phenomenal musicianship. Bringing the album to its epilogue with ‘The Throne Room / End Title’ as deems so fitting, it rounds up the album in such a nice way and gives you even more of that progressive and technical metal that you’ve heard right from the beginning. Giving you those last 6 minutes of everything you loved before, this band give you another chance to be floored at their creativity.
At its core, this band create something that could be deemed far from a ‘cover band’, but they have made something marvellous in terms of the Star Wars universe, making tracks that are very atmospheric turn into hellacious riff heavy contraptions that will no doubt open your mind to something new and something different. There’s nothing else to say other than… Live long and prosper!