EMPIRE – Trading Souls

EMPIRE - Trading Souls


Lion Music
Release date: 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

If you like bass and vocals at the forefront of your music, then you are going to revel in Empire’s newest release, Trading Souls. One has to wonder if this was something they went for in production, or if it was an accident that they didn’t bother fixing post-production.

Of course, they do have some pretty good players at those two positions, so it’s not necessarily a BAD thing to emphasize. Lead singer Tony Martin (Black Sabbath) and bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake) are proven talents. But still, Empire is guitarist and songwriter Rolf Munkes’ baby, so it’s a tad surprising.

The CD starts with a cool guitar riff and a deep-as-hell thumping by Murray on “One In A Million.” Martin starts singing, and his Black Sabbath days are behind him, at least here, and his voice is an almost perfect mixture of David Coverdale and Don Dokken. It is surprising hearing Martin sing things like “Endless lonely nights on my own, then she came into my life,” if you are a fan of his Black Sabbath years.

The second song, “Pay Back Time,” is another rhythm-heavy song. This song is much different than the first, talking about pentagrams, evil lords trading souls and the devil’s sign. But the chorus is pop-driven, happy and doesn’t fit the words. Just don’t pay attention to them; it’s still not bad.

This CD has a lot of good rock songs. It isn’t heavy metal, although it can be fairly hard in parts. Songs like “Comin’ Home,” “Perfect Singularity,” (a kind of slinky, sexy tune), and “Big World, Little Man,” are worthwhile songs. “Big World, Little Man” has the best chorus on the CD by far – catchy as all get out.

An outright retarded song on the CD is called “Teenage Deadhead.” You’d think it was a punk-ish song by the title, a revved up 3-chord rocker. Instead, it’s a slow homage to a dead teenager and/or dead teenage Grateful Dead fan? Decipher this yourself: My world is dead and you killed it … my life is better without you in it, you’re a teenage deadhead. Do dead teenagers like the Grateful Dead? Martin does some weird wailing in this one to help with the confusion.

Empire doesn’t miss often, and they don’t hit very hard either, except for the bass. With all of the talent here, it’d be tough for them to fail. Trading Souls is a better than average CD with a few bright spots and good writing. In fact, the last song, “Back In The Light,” should have been the opening track, because it’s the best one you’ll find here. “Did You Ever Love Me,” is an excellent poignant ballad that highlights all their talents. But overall, Empire’s Trading Souls just sounds a little too much like a “project” than an actual band.

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