Non-mainstream essentials: February 2011

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Nick DiNatale
Music editor

January’s Largest Success: I Am Empire’s Kings

I Am Empire’s debut is strong, fulfilling, and memorable to say the least. It’s certainly safe to say that a fair number of positive adjectives can be used to articulate the success of the band’s Tooth & Nail debut. As a result of the album’s abundant solos, catchy riffs, and rich, powerful bass tones, January 25th (the release date for Kings) is set to be a good day. Make sure to take the album for more than just face value though: it has a deep, underlying theme of abandonment, and meaningful lyrics which both deserve at least some attention.

The band brings a touch of an 80’s rock vibe (mixed with a modern-day alt-rock band) to the table with their debut full-length. (Comparisons to Mötley Crüe wouldn’t be very far out of line.) The 80’s rock feel is mostly provided by frontman Austin Lyons’ vocal style, along with I Am Empire’s tendency to include guitar solos in the majority of their songs, while the powerful bass tones and guitar riffs add a heavier aspect to the band’s music. However, contrary to many of the band’s competitors throughout the scene, no screamed vocals appear on Kings.

In addition to being ear-grabbing, Kings is also a very diverse album. Rich bass tones and guitar riffs combine with the emotionally fueled lyrics to hook the listener into the record. In both “Love & Despair” and “It’s Not Fair”, deeper lyrics combine with slower tempos to show a softer, ballad-like side to the band’s songs. “Dig You Out” gives off more of a mainstream, pop-rock vibe than any other song on the album. However, none of the aforementioned songs really feel out of place in the slightest. They mingle quite nicely between the faster paced, heavier songs such as “Brain Damage” and “Heart Attack”.

After a good fifteen listens through Kings, it still isn’t getting old. The fact that this is I Am Empire’s first career album is very impressive, as they are certainly rather mature musicians.  Make sure to check out the album and the band as well, as they will be touring throughout the year.

Go listen to: “Hammers And Anvils” and “Dig You Out”

Looking forward:

1. A Skylit Drive’s Identity On Fire (2/15)

2. Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key (2/15)

3. Emmure’s Speaker Of The Dead (2/15)

4. Bayside’s Killing Time (2/22)

5. Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows’ D.R.U.G.S. (2/22)

6. I See Stars’ The End Of The World Party (2/22)