Artist: Empire Nation
Label: Working Bird Records / Resound Media UK
Release Date: 4/23/12
Reviewer: Cimarron Hatch
Buy The Album: iTunes / Online Store
- Fire Fall Down
- You’re Not Alone
- Carry You to Ground
- My Soul Was Chosen
- You Are the River
- The Way We See
Empire Nation is a new modern worship band hailing from the United Kingdom. The members of the band are Edward Bird, singer, rhythm guitar, and piano; Sam Greene, bass and backing vocals; Sam Dransfield (Sammy D), lead guitar; and Sam Glazebrook (Glazey), drums and backing vocals. With the release of their second full-length album, Closer, Empire Nation is experiencing a rush of international buzz. With music comparable to such acts as Hillsong United and Passion Band, it is not hard to understand why this group is gaining more and more attention by the day.
The title track, “Closer,” opens the album. It’s a fairly slow song, which I don’t think was a great choice to be up first. Fortunately, “Fire Fall Down,” which comes next is a faster rock song to regain interest. “Starlight” follows and craftily uses the metaphor of God being the starlight in the dark. The album’s lead single, “You’re Not Alone,” which features up-and-coming UK singer/songwriter Philippa Hanna comes after “Starlight.” The song has an interesting rhythm to it, something like jazz or swing. You can check out the new music video for the song here. Rounding out the first half of Closer is “Revolution,” which is about being strong as a soldier to spread the Word of God. I was somewhat bothered by the vocals on this track that sounded really uncomfortable to me, like the voice just didn’t fit the song.
“Carry You to Ground,” a song about God’s protection in times of distress, is opened by news broadcasts about disasters. It has a great melody in the verse, but I found the chorus lacking. Another spoken word section happens towards the end of the song, which I think is always a bad idea, and is especially weird in this song because it’s another news broadcast. Next is “My Soul Was Chosen,” a worship track, but the vocals are difficult to hear which takes away from being able to enjoy the lyrics. “Shine” has a great drum intro and is an encouraging song about being able to shine and stand out in the world. The two final tracks are both good, hopeful worship songs that close the album well.
Overall: Empire Nation is an interesting band with the potential to make it in the international Christian music scene. The songs on this album are well written, but I think the instrumentation and vocals could be arranged better. I’m not sure Edward Bird has the right voice to blend with the songs the way they are done right now, especially on slower tracks. Plus, when the background vocals came in, the songs would start to feel a bit rushed. But all in all, I believe this band will become highly popular and some of their songs could become standards of worship services in churches. Empire Nation’s Closer is an album worth checking out if you’re a fan of CCM and worship music.