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The Empire Shall Fall Awaken Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Finds former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach in the form of his career.

Raziq Rauf 2010

With such a sinister, pointed band name as The Empire Shall Fall, it’s unsurprising that these eight tracks comprise an angry, frustrated collection of social and political diatribes. And as the band is led by former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach, it’s equally unsurprising that there are some powerful messages to be found inside the powerful music.

After leaving the metalcore heavyweights mid-tour in 2002 due to depression, this is Leach’s third bite of the cherry. While he enjoyed reasonable success in the equally thought-provoking dirty blues band Seemless, the return to these sinister metallic sounds finds the vocalist at his most comfortable.

Soulfully belting out the opening lines, “Our lives / The passion we have inside defines who we are,” Leach lays down a serious statement of intent. With complex asymmetrical riffs reminiscent of something Meshuggah might pull out during band practise, there is enough during the title-track to bode very well for the rest of the album.

It’s unclear exactly what Leach is rising up against, but his lyrics are aimed towards the government, general society and such, and his delivery here is surely the finest of his career. During his time in Seemless there were rumours that he was unable to scream any more due to his more measured vocal style with them. This album rubbishes that school of thought.

Voices Forming Weapons is a thunderous onslaught of drums and pinched guitar riffing but Leach’s voice soars and screeches over the top with wild abandon. We the People, on the other hand, drives along purposefully until breaking down into a spoken-word respite. While moments like these seem almost purposefully diverse, the album is none the worse for it.

In a time where mindless reality TV stars are the norm and lyrically devoid bands like Bullet For My Valentine are the sales benchmark for modern metal, the positive and liberal stance The Empire Shall Fall have taken is truly encouraging and welcomed. After the slightly lacklustre eponymous effort from Killswitch Engage in 2009, it’s not a stretch to suggest that with Awaken, Leach’s new charges have created an equally competent and much more interesting record.

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