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Empire: Trading Souls

Guitarist Rolf Munkes put together a nice little superstar line-up here for the sophomore release of his project Empire. Trading Souls also features former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin, current Deep Purple keyboard player Don Airey, and ex-Whitesnake/Black Sabbath/Gary Moore bassist Neil Murray, and the group have put together an enjoyable collection of melodic rock & metal songs here that won't be earth shattering to most but is still worth a listen.

Most of the tracks have memorable melodies and crisp instrumentation, especially the hook laden opener "One In a Million", which grabs you from the first note and really sinks in thanks to Martin's instantly recognizable vocal delivery. The unfortunate thing is, as solid as the rest of the album is, nothing ever hits the heights of that opening song. "Big Man, Little Man" has some nice riffs, heavy Hammond, and powerful vocals, and "You" is a cruncy rocker with catchy hooks, but the majority of the rest don't quite have that 'oomph' and sterling quality that you got smacked with on the opening cut. "Wherever You Go" approaches melodic metal, and might be the heaviest cut here, but despite Munkes' sizzling wah-wah laced guitar work and some venemous vocals from Martin, the song just doesn't really take off like it should. There are a few too many generic melodic rockers and ballads here that, while pleasant, just don't grab the listener.

Trading Souls, in the end, just seems to be missing that extra spark to really make it a worthwhile melodic rock/metal release. The performances are certainly solid, with Martin as always sounding great, but some of the songwriting just seems kind of flat, making for a decent but not overly essential listen for genre fans.

Track Listing

  1. One In A Million
  2. Pay Back Time
  3. Teenage Deadhead
  4. Big World, Little Man
  5. You
  6. Perfect Singularity
  7. Wherever You Go
  8. Did You Ever Love Me
  9. Comin Home
  10. Back In The Light

Added: October 17th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 2086
Language: english

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