Review Summary: "...prepare for a feeling of satisfaction with a touch of greatness, a side dish of hope, all smeared in slight disappointment."
I took an interest in Eye Empire since it was first announced. On one hand, the band seemed like your standard Hard Rock ensemble, showing off an initial demo that neither disappointed nor blew my hat off. On the other, familiar names like Donald Carpenter (Submersed), B.C. Kochmit (Switched) and Corey Lowery (Dark New Day) almost made me faint at the bands future potential. While the wait for the “Moment of Impact” was brutal, Eye Empire did manage to keep my attention by releasing a few teaser tracks that truly grew on me and swiftly morphed my subtle anticipation into an almost religious worship. Now the moment has finally come but, as it turns out, has yet to make a significant impact.
If, like me, you’re a fan of either of the bands mentioned earlier, prepare for a feeling of satisfaction with a touch of greatness, a side dish of hope, all smeared in slight disappointment. Dreaming for a long time of the sound these guys could potentially create given their backgrounds, the tracks “More Than Fate”, “Victim” and especially “I Pray” and “Ignite” were instantly a dream come true. Heavy and melodic, including interesting riffs, impressive vocals, superb drumming and spit shine polish on the whole, these few songs really showed me what these artists are capable of. I’m still shaking from the groundbreaking awesomeness that is the sound of “Ignite”. Lyrically the debut is strong but not overly impressive, with these same four tracks once again taking the main stage. Surprisingly enough, these were the same songs demoed to the public long before release and which got me hooked in the first place.
Listening to the whole debut however, my surprise didn’t last as sadly the rest of album felt a little rushed. Let me make this clear right now, none of it is really “bad”, it’s just not all quite as memorable. For example “Reason” and “Feels like I’m Falling” are slightly softer tracks that, while smooth sounding, lacked the spark that made a softy like “More than Fate” a welcome change of pace. “Idiot” and “Bull in a China Shop” may be hard hitting and upbeat but came off as repetitive thanks to their simple choruses, becoming dull very quickly. It just seems like a lot of the band’s talent was wasted on uninteresting material. With the impressive production quality and overall sound, the writing is what truly lacked and what kept this album from being anything more than just great to me. Still these guys are definitely worth a listen, if only for those four tracks I mentioned.
Like a Heineken, it may not be everyone’s mug of beer (see what I did there...) and will most likely leave a bitter taste in your mouth but for whatever reason, be it the amazing vocalist or the heavy tunes, you’ll come back, and the more you do the less bitterness you’ll taste, because you’ll be drunk. I know I am.