Review: White Empress – Rise of the Empress

White Empress - Rise of the EmpressI’ve had Rise of the Empress for a while now, but in typical fashion I completely forget that approaching release date… which is this coming Monday 29th September through Peaceville Records.

White Empress is the new project of ex-Cradle of Filth guitarist Paul Allender, but isn’t just a solo job with some session musicians. The band has a full line-up ready for touring and the like, and many of the members have played with bands you’ll almost certainly have heard of: vocalist Mary Zimmer from Luna Mortis, Will Graney (keyboardist from Damnation Angels), Chela Harper (bass player for Coal Chamber), guitarist Jeremy Kohnmann from The Awakening, and drummer Zac Morris, who’s played with many bands including Ugly Kid Joe.

The band have been together for around two years now, since Paul relocated to the U.S., and have spent that time working on the album which was funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. Was it worth those pledges, though?

Well, I don’t think fans of Paul’s previous works will be disappointed. It’s a crushing, heavy album with a hint of the gothic about it. It’s hard to believe that the vocals all come out of one throat. Zimmer’s voice sounds like two people – one harsh and evil, the other airy and ethereal yet powerful.

The pace of the album is unrelenting. From beginning to end, it’s one huge barrage of keyboard-backed drum-bashing nightmares. Scary though it may be, it all fits together well and the tracks actually flow well from one to the next.

Picking a stand-out track isn’t too easy.  I was tempted to name “Darkness Encroaching”, but that’s too obvious given that it was the single released a couple of weeks ago (check it out below). Instead, I’ll plump for “Erased and Rewritten” partly for its excellent use of the aforementioned vocals. Or “The Ecstatic and the Sorrow” for its excellent intro. Hmm.

Hey, why decide? Get the album and enjoy all ten tracks.

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