The new wave of traditional heavy metal movement is a wonderful thing, with bands ably recalling the glory days of heavy metal by honouring the forefathers of the genre while re-establishing the sound of classic metal as a force to be reckoned with…..and San Francisco’s Ancient Empire are certainly no exception. In fact, they’re leading the charge, with The Tower proving itself to be a monumental construction of formidable songwriting and imposing performances.
Ancient Empire’s passion and commitment positively oozes from every energetic riff and full-throated vocals and while they’d already proved their mettle on 2014’s When Empires Fall and 2016’s Other World, it is with The Tower that Ancient Empire have honed their sound to borderline perfection.
This is heavy metal, through and though. Gloriously indebted to the sounds of the 80’s but striding forth, triumphantly, focused on the future (with one eye gazing lovingly at the past) and in complete control of their own destiny. This isn’t pastiche, it’s a time honoured tradition moulded for a new generation of starving metal-heads and while you’ve heard it all before, you’ve rarely heard it delivered with this much conviction. Well, not since the 80’s anyway!
Each track comes saddled with its own identity, and from the refreshing and honest structure of the title track, to the maiden-esque gallop of the ripping “Darker Side Of Midnight” and 2 (yes, 2!) epic closers that being a grandiose finale to proceedings, there’s no weak links; just 9 barn-storming classic metal stompers of serious skill.
Remember when Iron Maiden lit a fire in your belly that could not be diminished, when speed metal ushered in a new era of audacious technicality and the likes of Helstar, Manilla Road and Savatage were re-defining the pure power of metal? Nearly 3 decades on, Ancient Empire will give you that fix again….and that is a truly wonderful thing! 9/10