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9 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emo Powerpop Psychedilic Stadium Hair Metal...?, January 30, 2011
This review is from: Kings (MP3 Music)
I Am Empire is part of an unusual breed of rock bands. It's even more unusual to see what record label picked them up - Tooth & Nail, a label that seems to be determined to replace their alternative rock outfit Anberlin with wave after wave of cheap copies, has finally stepped out of their comfort zone here. There is one particularly interesting thing about I Am Empire: there is absolutely nothing original about this band. However, there is something special about their sound, because, as a band completely content to operate within the confines of rock and roll, they manage to strike the listener as refreshingly nostalgic.

Things get kicked off with explosive, stadium-rock sized guitar riffs on "Brain Damage." The vocals come in shrill, squeaky, and flamboyant after a couple of measures; there's no subtlety here at all. This is a rock and roll album, and I Am Empire is here to pound the listener with truckloads of the stuff. It's not about sex and drugs, though - the emo-tinged lyrical content pours out a hearty helping of angst. Ironically, it's not Anberlin or The Classic Crime stuff either; rather, it's mostly about father-son abandonment and the struggle to forgive. It sounds depressing, but it's almost hard to care about the heady topics presented here because of the incredibly upbeat sounds that the album dishes out. "Hammers & Anvils" and "Dig You Out" both play with a more modern powerpop sound, while "The Elevator" and "Foxhole" serve up the stadium style riffs. "Love and Despair" has a pleasant, less energetic psychedelic vibe to it. Here's the strangest part - All the songs sound like they could have come right off of an 80s rock record, with Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses sounding like important influences. It could even be argued that I Am Empire is a - dare I say it? - twenty-first century hair metal band, with "Saints & Sinners," "You're a Fake," and "To The Moon" offering up cheesy heavy-pop-rock riffs, high-pitched scream-singing, impressive-but-ridiculous guitar solos, and, yes, "Woah-oh-oh's." The band closes this mish-mash of rock with a down-home blues-rock number, of all things.

That sounds like criticism, and perhaps it is, but I don't intend it to be. I Am Empire does not present anything here that suggests serious staying power, but there is still something to be said about crafting what might be the most fun album of spring 2011. The band could stand to listen to criticisms and try to find a sound that brings something new to the table, but for the rest of us, I can only recommend "Kings" as a completely worthy purchase. In a 2011 full of too-serious rockers with various axes to grind, a group that remembers to jam it up a little is wholly welcomed. A buy, no less.

Ten-Point Scale: 7.5 out of 10
Genre: Powerpop / Stadium Rock / Hair Metal
Recommended: Mostly
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Tooth and Nail Release, January 26, 2011
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This review is from: Kings (MP3 Music)
I was unfamiliar with I AM EMPIRE before about a week ago when I downloaded a free acoustic version of the song "Foxhole" off of their facebook page. They are a band signed to Tooth and Nail Records with bands such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Anberlin (Formerly), The Classic Crime, Emery, Ivoryline, Sent by Ravens and many other great artists. The acoustic track was great, so when their new album, Kings, dropped yesterday, I went ahead and checked it out, and I am glad I did.

Instrumentally, the songs have a great range from track to track, showing different styles these talented musicians are capable of.

Vocally, the CD as a whole is pretty different, in a very good way. The lead singer has a passion in his voice that cannot be faked.

As far as particular tracks, I think my favorite after the few listens of this CD I have had has to be Saints and Sinners. Instrumentally, this song starts off powerful, leading into some seriously head-nod-inducing lyrics, and never lets go for the duration of the song. The album as a whole is fantastic, but if you are just shopping for a few tracks, I would recommend The Elevator, Take Me Away, Foxhole, and Heart Attack. Lyrically, there is some deep and meaningful stuff to be found on this album.

Tooth and Nail signs a lot of great Christian Rock bands, and I am Empire is no exception to this. I make no hesitation recommending this CD to anyone, or any of the other Tooth and Nail artists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Tunes!, March 14, 2011
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This review is from: Kings (Audio CD)
Overall I really enjoy the label debut Kings, from I Am Empire. Standout tracks include, "Saints & Sinners", "Brain Damage", and "Love & Dispair". I Am Empire does an outstanding job blending such diverse rock genres. It almost feels like a modernization of hair metal, with some great shredding solos. At points I hear powerpop-punk reminiscent of Letter Kills/The Wedding/30 Seconds to Mars, and yet elsewhere the feel is that of Bon Jovi ("It's Not Fair"). Lyrically it is a little difficult for me to relate to the album at points, as the album deals heavily with sub-par family situations, and I was blessed with great parents and a stable environment, but universal truths abound, and a listener searching for depth, truth, and meaning will easily glean them from these 12 tracks. The music industry may be at a rough spot, but I expect good things from I Am Empire in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It Has Grown On Me, March 4, 2014
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This review is from: Kings (MP3 Music)
I wasn't quite prepared for their sound when I bought this CD. I am not sure what it is about the sound. I think it mostly has to do with the vocals. However, as I have listened and gotten to know some of their stuff, I have grown to appreciate it and have recently started listening to a radio station that plays at least one of their songs on a regular basis. I am not a huge fan following them around or anything, but this is a quality CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought this, August 13, 2013
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This review is from: Kings (Audio CD)
...wish I had bought it sooner! I had streamed a couple of songs from this CD, without really giving the other songs a good listening... wow... Have you ever had a CD to get better the more you played it? I can't explain it but it just sounded better every play. If you like TFK, Disciple, Nine Lashes and the like.... get this now and crank it up..! You can rock and still bring glory to the ROCK, Jesus Christ with I Am Empire
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Group, January 19, 2013
By 
Banacheck "The Collector" (Shrine of the Immaculate Collection) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kings (Audio CD)
I was looking to add to my Christian music collection and this group appealed to me. I rated it five stars because the songs had good beats and the lyrics were amazing. I would recommend this CD to other fans of Christian music looking for something more modern.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not What I was Expecting At All, August 31, 2011
This review is from: Kings (Audio CD)
I got this CD on a whim in the "Alternative Music" section of a local Christian bookstore thinking that it'd be a straight-up hardcore/metal cd, but boy was I surprised. It's a lot more rock-oriented as the other reviews have said, and I don't typically enjoy this type of rock music, but I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised! The vocal range of the lead singer is really vast, and the instrument playing is very tight. I'm really glad that I bought this, because it has helped me to expand my musical horizons. I highly suggest that anyone curious about the album just go ahead and buy it, it's really good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Empire, August 8, 2011
This review is from: Kings (Audio CD)
I know this review is kind of long, but it is still helpful, so still read it. I heard about I Am Empire a few months ago and just saw them at Spirit West Coast 2011. They put on the best show I've ever seen, and I've seen bands like Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, Switchfoot, and Fireflight. In concert their singer acts kind of weird, but in a good way. I remember at one point their singer says to the crowd, "Put your hands up." and then a few people did and he screams into the microphone "Put em' up!" in one of the loudest screaming voices I've heard. And then he did this weird laugh and smiles weird. The guitarists, bassist, and drummer are also really wild sticking their tongues out and climbing on their amps and other equipment. Their albums is awesome too, especially with the first three tracks brain damage, heart attack, and saints and sinners. I can tell in a few years these are going to have sold millions of albums. All of the members of the band are really nice too, I have pictures with them, and they signed all my stuff. They are really a great band, and in my opinion the best band ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album...but go see them live, August 7, 2011
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This review is from: Kings (MP3 Music)
I'd never heard I Am Empire before I downloaded this album. I'm so glad I did. They are some very talented musicians. Few bands are able to convey their passion into an alum these days and I Am Empire was successful at that. Although there is nothing revolutionary about their sound. Its still great to hear someone making great rock music these days. Most importantly though, if you have the chance or opportunity you must go see these guys live. A seriously entertaining band to see. The frontman has so much energy and passion for their music. Best band I've seen in awhile. I could see these guys sticking around for a bit if they get the support they deserve.
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Kings
Kings by I Am Empire
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