Empire is really the band of former Vanize man Rolf Munkes, who along with drummer and producer Gerald Kloos (also of Condition Red) has assembled an all-star cast for its hard rock outings. Some of the participants are Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, etc.), Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring of Fire, etc.), Lance King (Balance of Power, Mattsson, etc.), Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, Yngwie Malmsteen), Don Airey (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Silver, etc.) and others.
Hypnotica was re-released by Lion Music in 2004. Locomotive Records released chasing Shadows in the USA in 2008. It featured Mike Terrana (Rage, Metalium, etc.) on drums.
EMPIRE - HYPNOTICA - LION
Hypnotica is a re-release with bonus songs, but seeing how the original release never made it to Metallian Towers the disc is sure worth a review. Given the membership and the pedigree in Empire - one of half a dozen bands with this moniker incidentally - it is little surprise that the band plays a rather commercial style of hard rock. The singer has the chops, the guitarist is a virtuoso and the rest of the gang is hardly a slouch. Having said that, the musicians occasionally come across as playing in a bubble. Rather than sounding like a cohesive unit the band can sound like a number of individual recordings dubbed atop each other. The drummer, in particular, seems to have a mind of his own playing at a faster speed and different tempo than his colleagues. Then again, good songs like A Different Sign and Shelter, which are two of the more subdued ones here, are certainly above average. To pinpoint an exact sound or comparison for Empire is not an easy task. The band changes things and mixes sounds, but it can occasionally come across as late Lee Aaron with the vocals of Slaughter, while on other songs it can sound like a traditional British hard rock band. - Ali "The Metallian"