In a world full of nonsensical distractions and media designed to divert your attention away from anything of substance, there are a few bands who demand your attention like Empyre. Some may say, who in the world are Empyre? Well, if you do not already know, they are a four-piece Heavy Rock band out of the UK quickly stapling their presence.
Consisting of Henrik Steenholdt (vocals and guitar), Did Coles (lead guitar), Grant Hockley (bass) and Elliot Bale (drums), over the last decade the band has devoted themselves to songwriting, live performances, and building their own way. Doing just that, Empyre created, and independently released, a slew of impressive music since 2017; first with singles, followed with their 2019 full-length debut Self Aware, before the 2021 acoustic full-length The Other Side. Clearly attracting attention, Kscope (an independent record label that is part of Snapper Music, and a sister-label of Peaceville) scooped them up to join their lineup of acts that include Blackfield and Tesseract. So, matching a hard working attitude, they now have a strong support system behind them… all making Empyre even more of a force to look out for.
This in mind, the band return in 2023 with their second proper full-length album, Relentless. Released on March 31st through Kscope, the album consists of 10 songs that weaves in and out of moods in a way that will turn your head. Rather exciting, the album is a carefully drawn-out attack of melodic, heavy guitars, dark undertones, and lively song structures. Laying somewhere in between Progressive and Alternative Metal, the best way to describe Empyre would be a mix of heaviness with a thick, airy atmospheres, all swirling around mature songwriting, plus soaring, emotional vocals.
Now, the key word here is mature… because these guys are writing and singing about some very thoughtful ideas that can only come from those who are outside the mainstream’s shallow stratosphere. The best part is Steenholdt’s voice fits these thoughts perfectly as he articulates each emotion in a way that you can feel them in a very intense manner. And if you have not heard him or Empyre in general, some good vocalist comparious, in terms of energy, would include David Drainman of Disturbed or Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge. However, these are only points of reference, because Empyre’s sound may appeal to Hard Rock fans, but it also crosses genres into darker, more progressive sounds.
Painting these pictures, Relentless really has no misses throughout. A mix of heaviness and more delicate moments, these can be most amply experienced with the album’s title-track, “Waking Light,” “Hit and Run,” “Silence Screaming,” and “Road to Nowhere.” Each an example of the band’s keen sense of letting the music breath and not beating you over the head, think of them as an invitation to the party.
Overall, there is really nothing to dislike about what Empyre does with Relentless. It is heavy, melodic, intelligent, yet still accessible enough that you could easily imagine their music being played on modern Hard Rock radio. That is why Cryptic Rock urges you to check out Relentless, and give it 4 out of 5 stars.