Review Summary: Kings by I Am Empire offers an impressive Tooth and Nail debut.
Tooth and Nail have gone downhill. Lets begin with that, they have strayed away from signing good experimental bands with a ton of potential. They have resorted to signing more washed out or bland acts making many people who once adored the label begging with their hands out for a return of the Golden Age of Tooth and Nail when acts like Underoath, Ivoryline, and Anberlin were its flagship bands. I Am Empire may not be the savior of the sinking label, however it’s a band that definitely brings its listener some nostalgia of that time.
Its quite certain that you can say a lot of positive things about this band. Kings is chalk full of catchy hooks, soaring vocals, and blistering guitar solos found throughout their album. Their interesting combination of Pop Rock, Hair Metal, and even Southern Rock is definitely attention grabbing. This combination is very prevalent in the song Heart Attack
. Vocalist Austin Lyons truly shines in this song displaying an incredible voice reminiscent of the multi octave vocals of the glam rock bands of the 1980s, this range is also shown in Brain Damage
. This may turn off some listeners understandably, but the talent of this vocalist is second to none in comparison to many vocalists who heavily require autotune that in turn drowns out any evidence that the vocals once came from a humans throat.
is the next song to be noted on this album. In this particular track, the instruments are what truly shine. The song begins showing the southern influence of this band, like their hair metal influence, they know how to use this well. The soulful and soaring vocals of Lyons are also seen as well. The drummer has an excellent roll and knows how to keep on time. The song also contains the amazing solo work I spoke of earlier. It then turns to an orchestral bit that doesn’t sound weird or out of place in the song.
Love & Despair
is very much so a Ballad. It begins with atmospheric guitar noodling following slowing down the energy of the album. The song slowly builds up to its explosive point with a chorus and crowd chanted “Woah-ohs”. This is one of the most memorable moments of the album thanks to its explosive chorus and passionate vocals delivered by Lyons. The other song that is also very ballad-esque song is Take Me Away
which alternates between both electric and acoustic driven bit. When most bands attempt this they come off as sloppy and inexperienced, however the band know how to pull this off to not sound messy.
The most lyrically passionate song on the album is titled It’s Not Fair
. Which tells about how Lyons’ father left him and his family. The vocal delivery of the line “Its not fair to go, and leave me behind
”. Will leave shivers down your spine. Instrumentally, the band attempts a more blues feel in this song, and it really comes out great combined with the lyrics and vocal delivery of Lyons. It really shows that this band is incredibly crafty at incorporating different influences to their sound and knows how to keep the listener focused to the album and interested.
I Am Empire may just be what Tooth And Nail needs to reclaim its old fans that loved the once powerful line of Pop Rock bands that once lead the label. For a debut album, I Am Empire offers an impressive and competent release that will reach the interest of many different fans. With that being said, I Am Empire definitely has the potential to grow in the Pop Rock genre and become a formidable force in the upcoming years.