We’ve encountered Empire Warning a couple of times. Band of the Day back in 2018, in the runup to Bloodstock and we chatted to them at last year’s event as well. Winning London’s Metal 2 the Masses was no mean feat, being as it is the largest (by far) of the regions.
Unite & Die is the only CD I was handed at the festival which still hasn’t been released. According to their facebook, it’s due to be available “early 2020” though Empire Warning are already hard at work on the album which is to follow! Definitely a band with plans. There are four tracks on here, two of which have been available before and two new ones.
With no messing about, “Heil to the Rat King” has one of those “Everyone clap their hand over their heads” openings, and lays on the groove before the vocals kick in. This is one of the tracks that fans will already know, and I’m not sure if it’s been remastered or re-recorded for this release, but it’s a belter regardless.
The two unreleased tracks are the filling in the sandwich. “Stuck” is brutal and unrelenting. Barely pausing for breath for it’s running time, it’s an exhausting track to listen to – but in a good way. “Take From Me”‘s marching drumbeat is next, crunchy guitars right behind and then some lovely harsh vocals. The kind of track that’s simple enough that you get the rhythm right away along with the earworm effect, but which bears repeated listens as you appreciate the layers. Lyrically it’s like some kind of messed up love song. I like it.
Rounding things off is “Verge of Insanity” that was released as a video last year. Again, it rattles along at a fair pace yet never loses control.
In all the tracks, there’s great production. Heavy and bassy but not distorted, vocals are clear and the songs are just spot on. A cracking little collection and if Empire Warning can expand this quality out over a full album then they’ve more than demonstrated that they deserved that M2tM win.