There has been an awakening. Can you feel it? It is of course Galactic Empire's self titled debut album, a selection of the best musical pieces by legendary composer John Williams from the Star Wars saga, covered gloriously in heavy metal. Of course it helps to be a Star Wars fan here, as all of these songs are already well known with the most stand out songs being the most famous songs from the saga, such as the Imperial March or Main Theme, both of which were released as singles prior to the albums release. The choppy drums and chunky guitar playing making the Imperial March sound more menacing than ever before, and using the Main Theme as the first song for the record is a no brainer, being the first song we hear in every Star Wars film when the intro sequence rolls.
The band is comprised of 5 members, all clad in custom made costumes portraying their characters, all loyal to the dark side of the force and the Emperor. Shadow Ranger and Red Guard are both guitarists for the band, accompanied by Dark Vader on lead guitar, Boba Sett on drums and Bass Commander on, well, bass. The tremendous effort that Galactic Empire have put into this musical endeavor alongside the costumes and dedication to background lore (their Facebook page has their current location set to 'A galaxy far, far away' and their main influence down as 'The Dark Side of the Force') is reminiscent of Sci-Fi themed metal band GWAR, albiet without all the explicit vulgarity that GWAR is well known for.
A particular highlight on the album comes from the guitar heavy rendition of the Cantina Band song, where the band have managed to recreate the song note for note, without sacrificing the upbeat nature of the song despite the heavier sound, this would definitely be one to dance to live. Galactic Empire have paid so much attention to detail on each of the 11 tracks chosen for the record, tackling songs like Duel Of The Fates and Battle Of The Heroes with magnificent finesse, using choir vocals where needed to really capture the grand essence and scale of these songs, and album closer The Throne Room / End Title is a truly epic way to end this beautifully crafted nostalgia trip of an album.
This record is a true labour of love for any Star Wars fan, although as the main appeal for this album comes from being a fan of the beloved space opera, there may not be much here for anyone that hasn't already seen the Star Wars movies. Good thing it's the second highest grossing media franchise of all time then! Whether you are a casual or hardcore fan of Star Wars, I strongly recommend giving this album a listen and maybe checking out Galactic Empire live next time they tour near you! Lord Vader would be most pleased.