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Customer Reviews

I'm always banging up my heart

As their follow-up to their 2008 début, Chicago's Empires enter the year with a bang. The album opens with "Voodooized," an atmospheric track reminiscent of "Spit the Dark" from their previous effort. Things truly kick into gear with the danceable "Damn Things Over," a showcase for Sean Van Vleet's soaring vocals. The album's highlight is its title track. Ryan Luciani's energetic drumming, the MVP of this track, initiates the song and leads up to heavy chugging guitars and excited wails. This, one of their heaviest of their songs, displays Empires' ability to create arena-ready rock anthems in the future. The album takes a slow, sensual turn with the love song "Strangers," but just as quickly as the listener is brought into the light tone, the dark, brooding, and (dare I say) sexual "Hello Lover" begins. The energy flows into the fast-paced "Intruder," which boasts a melody sure to stay in your ears for weeks to come. The album closes on somewhat of a timid note with "I Know You Know." While not a bad track, it fails to keep up with any other song on the album and does not create the remarkable impressions the other do.

"Bang" is a pivotal album for Empires. While "Howl" was quite impressive, it was easy to tell that the group was still experimenting with their musical direction. "Bang" defines their sound and perfects everything that made "Howl" great and earned the group their dedicated fanbase. Ready to be a force in rock music, Empires planned to make their presence known when making "Bang" and they succeeded.

Rock n roll with real personality

I have been a fan of Empires since their debut album, Howl, hit the scene. I have anticipated their follow-up eagerly, and they did not disappoint one bit! This album is more cohesive and mature, as Empires have figured out just where their strengths and their sound lies. Every track is something special and entirely its own, and always grounded by Sean Van Vleet's unique and intense vocals. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but it might be "Hello Lover", a sauntering, moody track with a deeply catchy rhythm on the choruses, driven by the hard-hitting drumming of Ryan Luciani. This album is also filled with thundering true rock and roll songs that draw on and evolve beyond my favorite song from their first album, "I Want Blood". "Bang" and "Damn Things Over" particularly induce an inescapable urge to dance along. "I Know You Know" is a elegant, beautiful song that gets right under your skin. And the opening track, "Voodooized", will draw you in with its haunting and enticing vocals and lyrics, wrapped up in an atmospheric swell of guitars and piano.

This is a band to keep your eye on. They've achieved a truly phenomenal album entirely independently, and I think they'll be around for a good long while.

Another good one

Great band. you personally don't care what I think about each individual song, so I'm going to be considerate enough of your time and pixels to just finish this review by saying this is good album. Thank you.


Formed: 2007 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Chicago indie rock group Empires began in 2007 when guitarist Tom Conrad, formerly of pop-punk act the Academy Is..., approached singer/songwriter Sean Van Vleet about writing music together. Over the coming year, they added guitarist Max Steger and drummer Mike Robinson into the fold and recorded their debut album, Howl, which they offered as a free download on their website in 2008. Their self-produced mix of punchy garage tones and soaring, tuneful songcraft quickly won them a following and they...
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Bang, Empires
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