EMPTY TREMOR – The Alien Inside

EMPTY TREMOR - The Alien Inside


Frontiers Records
Release date: February 25, 2004

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The Alien Inside is the third release from the self-proclaimed Italian progressive metal gods, Empty Tremor. The lineup features 6 members: Oliver Hartmann (vocals), Daniele Liverani (keyboards), Stefano Ruzzi (drums and percussion), Dennis Randi (bass), Marco Guerrini (guitars), and Christian Tombetti (guitars). This CD also marks the debut of Hartmann on vocals.

Empty Tremor was born in 1994. The group had a young start, as all members were in their teens when the band was formed. Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Dream Theater can be listed as influences. As with most progressive bands, it is clear that most of their inspiration came from Dream Theater. In fact, they contributed a medley to the Dream Theater tribute album Voices.

The title track begins the listening experience with a long musical introduction. There is little doubt that this is a progressive metal CD from the first guitar riff. Intricate guitars, changes of pace, and the occasional bubbly keyboard segue into the vocals of Hartmann. Hartmann’s voice is clean and powerful and it is very clear that he takes his singing seriously. The vocals can easily be seen as a key element of Empty Tremor’s music.

“I Found You” is the second song on the disc and really slows things down after the faster paced “The Alien Inside.” The keyboards immediately draw the listener into the song and define the flow of the song. After being enchanted by this for a few minutes, the listener is treated to faster guitars and drums. The guitars take the forefront during this time, but eventually give way to the keyboards of Liverani as the song departs. This track is a highlight on this album.

The happiest track on the CD is “A New World,” as a piano and gospel-styled background vocals set the tone. Not many metal bands attempt this because it is not easily accomplished. Empty Tremor breaks from that paradigm and pulls it off with relative success.

The beginning of “Who You Really Are” reminds one of the signature opening of Pantera’s “Becoming.” This similarity comes to an abrupt halt, but in general, the guitars are heavier than on the previous tracks on the CD. Ruzzi’s use of the double bass is also more evident during this track. Hartmann’s vocals are slightly changed with the heavier music, but unlike many contemporary bands, he does this by using a higher voice and not barking. This is by no means a nu-metal song and does not stray far from the progressive tree.

“Don’t Stop Me” is marked with strong vocals and keyboards again. “Stay” is slower and puts acoustic guitars to work. This is the shortest track on the disc and this may be for good reason, as it seems like time filler. “The Love I’ve Never Had” brings Ruzzi’s drums more to the forefront at the beginning before changing pace and sliding in behind the vocals. The guitar work at the end of this track really stands out as it bridges beautifully into Hartmann’s reappearance in the song.

As opposed to “The Alien Inside”, the final track is “The Alien Outside.” The bass during this song sets a gloomy and dark mood that is definitely different than any of the others. Eventually, the pace does change, but the bass line is always present creating an almost haunting vibe. The background vocals help the disc exit with the feeling that something epic has just occurred.

Liking this CD is not difficult for fans of progressive metal. No groundbreaking achievements are accomplished, but that is almost impossible in this day and age. For anyone that does not follow Italian progressive metal religiously, it would be hard to deny that Empty Tremor are not the gods of the scene.

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