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Broken Empire – Before The Fall Award winner

Broken Empire
Before The Fall
by Neil Cook at 30 October 2022, 8:52 PM

I think it is only fair to warn you in advance this might be a touch biased as reviews go.  To understand what I am getting at I need to ask you a question.  Which type of gig goer are you?  Are you an “only go for the main band” and spend the support band(s) in the bar, or woe-betide you, standing in the venue loudly talking to your mates ignoring the support acts and royally pissing-off others who might be there to see them?  Or are you a “let’s give the support band a go, they might be OK” type, and if not, well the bar is a calling.

Me, I’m one of the latter.  Picture the scene, I’m at a venue in Oxford, England to see PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS, do their MOTORHEAD setlist tour when this band I have never heard of called BROKEN EMPIRE (whom I find out are local Oxford lads) come on stage as the support band, and blow me away! What’s going on? These guys a good!  They do not sound anything like PCABS or ‘HEAD, to my old ears they sounded modern and fresh, and not like my usual listening at all.  I dug what I heard, so I did some research and found out they were doing a pre-order bundle for their debut long player “Before The Fall”, which I duly ordered the signed CD and Tee-shirt bundle, and is why my name is proudly on the inside cover as on who supported the making of the album!

And was it worth it?  Hell YES!  It’s a collection of modern, melodic, Heavy Metal. Proggy in places (with a small “p” that is), with a clean and clear production, I can actually hear the Bass as a distinct instrument, and the drumming is metronomic but has a human feel to it.  The album has plenty of “old-school” riffage too, “One Last Time” being a brilliant example of that, whilst not the only (The title track being another).

Songs like the lead single “Disguise” (which got national airplay on one of the biggest “classic” rock digital radio channels), illustrates the bands strengths, pulling off an intricate, layered number, which remains catchy and showcases the clean and guttural vocal stylings and blistering riffs!

And I defy anyone not to love “Valediction”.  I really don’t have a point or reference to say they sound like band “A” or “B”, it is just they are simply an incredibly tight band producing eminently listenable songs, and this one is probably my favorite, by the smallest of margins.

One of those close second’s is probably the most proggy/cinematic track on the album.  “AI End Protocol” is a gentle musical refrain under what could be the spoken prelude to a dystopian Sci-fi movie.  A quirky little piece that leads into the last track “The Reckoning” which musically could be something BRITISH LION could do, but they couldn’t do vocally.

At 12 songs in under 48 minutes (OK “Prelude” is what it says, and “AI End Protocol” is a short 2 minutes), there is nothing bloated or unnecessary, just a fresh, modern ROCK album, that gets better from repeated listens.  On the evidence before us these guys could be big.  And I for one am happy to be in on the ground floor. Check it out for yourself, you will not be disapointed.

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Prelude
2. Disguise
3. Before The Fall
4. Valediction
5. One Last Time
6. Insanity (Is Relality)
7. Praying For Change
8. We are Alive
9. Hollow Ground
10. Blame Me
11. AI End Protocol
12. The Reckoning
Ieuan Owen – vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Matt Stevens – Lead Guitars
Marco Arena – Bass
Ricky Hill - drums
Record Label: Independent


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