EMPIRE (Tony Martin) – The Raven Ride [2017 reissue +1]

EMPIRE (Tony Martin) - The Raven Ride [2017 reissue +1] full

Throughout 2017, German label Pride & Joy Music are reissuing revised editions of all EMPIRE albums, the Hard Rock band of German guitarist Rolf Munkes. “The Raven Ride” is the third effort from the band, the second with singer extraordinaire Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath) plus legendary bassist Neil Murray (ex- Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), whilst the drums this time were handled by ex- Rage / Axxis André Hilgers.
This 2017 “The Raven Ride” includes a bonus track.

“The Raven Ride” was the first Empire album produced & mixed by Munkes himself, and musically follow the path of the awesome previous effort Trading Souls.
The album opens with the title track “The Raven Ride”, which boasts a beautifully heavy rhythm with a DIO feel about it. Killer vocals and music to match, and is definitely one of the strongest tracks, as does the second track “Breathe”, very The Headless Cross Black Sabbath era with Martin.
These are two of my favourite songs on this album, and worth the price of admission alone.

Munkes lays down seriously heavy riffs and slow burning solos. “What Would I Do” being a prime example of this, and the keyboards are used to menacing effect on ‘Changing World’. Love it.
“Al-Sirat – The Bridge Of Paradise” is carried by a very good riff with some fine soloing, and also carries that heavy Sabbath feel to it. Neil Murray’s heavy bass compliments Rolf Munkes guitar greatly, and Tony Martin‘s vocals are excellent here.

“Maximum” sounds like someone let the band seriously overindulge in Red Bull. Tony Martin growls as well as sings on this song. I didn’t like this track at first, but once I got over the growling, I found this song kind of kick ass and pretty original.

EMPIRE (Tony Martin) - The Raven Ride [2017 reissue +1] inside

Another fav of mine is “I Can’t Trust Myself”, a very ’80s song which is almost friendishly catchy, a number designed to be played live at packed arenas.
“Carbon Based Lifeform”, which appears on this album twice – as bonus track there’s an alternate version – deserves a mention for 2 reasons; it’s very good, and its very different, with a hint of progressive in it.

Empire have never really delivered a duff album in their four albums to date.
This 3rd effort “The Raven Ride” is a darn good listen from beginning to end. Tony Martin’s vocals shine more often than not, as does the music.
Fans of Tony Martin’s previous work with ’80s Black Sabbath (Tyr, Headless Cross) will love this disc, as well as DIO, Rainbow, ’80s Uriah Heep…
Strongly Recommended

01 – The Raven Ride
02 – Breathe
03 – Carbon Based Lifeform
04 – Satanic Curses
05 – Al-Sirat – The Bridge Of Paradise
06 – What Would I Do?
07 – Changing World
08 – Maximum
09 – I Can’t Trust Myself
10 – The Devil Speaks, The Sinner Cries
11 – Carbon Based Lifeform (alternate version) [Bonus Track]

Tony Martin – Vocals
Rolf Munkes – Guitars, Keyboards
Neil Murray – Bass
Andre Hilgers – Drums


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