Hard work and perseverance are the backbone of rock and roll. So many bands put in countless hours long before they ever see any form of success. In a society that thrives on mediocrity and glorifies mindless, dumbed down pop music with no heart, no soul and speaks to the lowest common denominator; a band like Eye Empire is a breath of fresh air. Honing your craft and paying your dues are often times overlooked today. People are afraid of a day of hard work. Eye Empire is a band that is far from being afraid to get their hands dirty. Their debut album, Impact is one of my favorite debuts in the last five years. It’s strong from start to finish. That’s what leads us here. The band is ready to unleash their newest release on the world. It’s aptly titled, Evolve. I’m here to share my thoughts on the album. Let’s do this!!
Wasting no time, Eye Empire busts out of the gate with One Day. It’s a troubled tale that features the musical style that I fell in love with on the first album. Aggressive guitars, strong drums, great melodies and a near punk rock recklessness. This is how you kick off an album.
The War Isn’t Over Yet was the first track I heard from Evolve. The band made it available on their site as a free download. Perhaps one of the heavier songs on the album, the band has delivered a song that is an immediate fire starter. If they open their set with this, look out. It’s on.
Rise (Wake Up) is the next track. It immediately conjured up thoughts of Ignite off of the first album. Which is one of my favorites. If you were curious how Ryan Bennett would do on this album, as Morgan Rose recorded the drums on the first album, look no further than this song. While lyrically the song is a tad bit repetitive for my taste, it’s still one that people will enjoy. Especially in a live setting.
Beyond The Stars is the first track that gives us a glimpse into the album title. The band has taken a different approach on a few songs and this one is one of the more obvious. When Teresa Burke interviewed vocalist Donald Carpenter, (Which you can watch here) he mentioned how much of an inspiration the Imagine Dragons record had been to him. I can’t help but feel this song in particular is what he was referring to. It’s still heavy at it’s core, but with the dramatic shift in dynamics, as well as the chorus with a heavy lean to the pop side of things, this song tells me Donald took it upon himself to explore a little further out on this album. I’m not sure how metal heads will like this one, but I absolutely love it.
The first track that really doesn’t sound quite right is Within. I get the lyrical inspiration, but the way the word Within is delivered in the chorus is, well, it’s just odd. It’s a slower jam that builds momentum complete with a powerful message, but for me it misses it’s mark. It’s my least favorite track on the record.
Weakness is classic Eye Empire. Three minutes of brutality. You’ll love this one.
Eye Empire has brought the pain early and often on Evolve, so it should come as no surprise that the trend continues with Bleed. This is the song you’ve been waiting for. This is next level Eye Empire. I truly can’t describe how awesome this track is. This will be your favorite track on this record. Pardon me while I’ll go break some shit!
Head High is another track that you’re going to love. That is after you play Bleed on repeat for roughly 40 times. Not that I’d know anything about that. Ha! The track is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock! In my opinion, hearing Corey Lowery’s awesome bass line in this track takes me back to the Stereomud days and I’m perfectly fine with that.
Now we start to see a change in the album. Where the title Evolve really comes into play. The Man I Am is much more of a hard rock song than we’ve gotten from the band in the past. It’s a stunning piece of music that could be the bands best shot at mainstream radio. While I am not a fan of today’s radio stations, I do realize they possess the power to push a band above and beyond. This song could be the one for the band.
I Can’t Forget and Don’t Look Back are similar in style to what you’ve come to expect from Eye Empire. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing harmful either. I’ll cast my vote for Don’t Look Back as the better of the two.
Live Loud is probably the most intriguing track on the entire album. Mainly because it sounds like it could be from the 80’s. I don’t mean any disrespect with that statement. This track would fit perfectly on a soundtrack like say The Lost Boys. With it’s strings, power chords and chorus delivered more in the style of Donald’s previous band Submersed, the song is a huge departure for the band. For me, I really enjoy it. B.C. Kochmit delivers one of his more simple, yet majestic solos to date and that makes me smile from ear to ear.
Closing out the album is I Don’t Want To Leave. Speaking of a departure. Wow. This piano tune, backed by a synthesizer has Donald singing some of his most vulnerable lyrics to date. A terrific song that is totally unexpected. Absolutely beautiful.
With Evolve, Eye Empire has spread their wings a bit. Yet they have also planted the seeds for whatever they choose to do next. While I’ll admit that I personally enjoyed Impact a tad bit better, that margin isn’t a huge one. If you only choose one band to get behind in this day and age, support these guys, as they truly deserve it.
Unsung Melody Score – 9 Out Of 10
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