Self Titled (Independent release)
Words – Geoff Jenke
2020 wasn’t kind to bands! Adelaide band Wicked Empire were making inroads to the Adelaide scene with a strong live following and an imminent debut album release when the crap (or corona) hit the fan. Some bands just went into hibernation and had 12 months (or more) off but Wicked Empire used the time to get their debut CD ready for release and even recorded more songs for their next album.
2021 has finally seen the release of the self-titled debut album and it is worth the weight. Wicked Empire are: Scott Semmler on guitars, Peter Eime – bass, Rino Crescitelli – vocals, Steve O’Shea – guitars and Rob Shepherd on drums.
Wicked Empire play hard melodic rock with lots of guitars and soaring vocals, all with an edge of hardness. Opening track, Zeitgeist, shows this right from the opening guitar riffs. Next up, Days of Old, continues with the hard sound.
While the first two tracks are good, it is the third track, Seems Like, where things really kick in. The power chords from Scott breaking out of the speakers match the ferocity of Rino’s vocals about “seizing the day”.
Everyone loves a power ballad and power ballads have transcended the time from the 70’s to 2021 in the form of How Does It Feel. Extremely popular in the 80’s by the hair metal bands, Wicked Empire pull out all stops to make it work in the now, while not sounding like a hair metal band.
I Believe brings up “gypsies” for the second time on the album, but more importantly takes the album to an even higher level. “I believe there’s something out there/ And that something lives inside of you and I”. No, it is not a religious song but it queries there is “something” out there”. Scott’s guitar, while soaring is a little low in the mix. Don’t be shy Scott, you are a great player, bring the sound out.
The “dirge” that starts Another Day is no reflection as what is to come. The second ballad on the album that dreamily travels along nicely. The added sax on the song by Nigel Bourn adds a wonderful element to the song. You just have to love a bit of sax in music.
Rise is the album highlight and a song that you could imagine Guns N Roses happily covering, complete with some very nice sounding Slash type licks. However, while Scott is certainly channeling Slash, he is not just copying the sound but bringing something fresh to it.
The final song The Wind Calls the Tune would fit nicely on any early Uriah Heep album. While most bands would put their best tracks at the beginning of the album, Wicked Empire are confident the earlier songs are strong enough to carry you through to the last two (and they are right). In fact, the last two tracks are so good, they leave you wanting even more.
And therein lies the treat. Apparently the second album is well on the way to being finished and the band are confident it is even strong that this debut.
While Scott Semmler wrote the songs (with some help from Steve O’Shea on 3), recorded and produced the band and had a hand in mastering the album, this album is the sum of all members. Wicked Empire the album is a total Wicked Empire band effort, with every contributing to the sound.
And the sound is first class. While the album maybe almost be labeled a “home recording” (as Scott has his own recoding set up), the production and mastering are world class. This album sounds as good, or even better than any I have recently bought.
Have a listen and to complete the Wicked Empire experience, catch them live soon. You won’t be disappointed. They are playing Jade on 28 May and The Arkaba on 12 June.
For those who are interested in buying a physical copy of the album, send a message to the email email@example.com or on their facebook page.
Wicked Empire are also thrilled to announce that their debut self-titled album is now available on all good streaming services and to purchase on iTunes.
Wicked Empire by Wicked Empire https://music.apple.com/au/album/wicked-empire/1562630407