Empire - Chasing Shadows

Kev Rowland, Empire - Chasing Shadows

In 2007 Empire released what was to be their last album, ‘Chasing Shadows’. Formed in 2001 by guitarist Rolf Munkes (ex-Majesty, ex- Razorback, Crematory), the band had a reasonably fluid line-up and only one year on from their most successful release to date, 2006’s ‘The Raven Ride’, Tony ‘Cat’ Martin had been replaced on vocals by Doogie White (ex-Rainbow) and drummer André Hilgers (ex-Rage/ex-Axxis) had also been replaced by Mike Terrana (ex-Rage, ex-Axel Rudi Pell, Tarja Turunen). Bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake and many others) did see out the course though, and played on all four albums.

Fast forward to 2017 and all four albums have been reissued by Pride & Joy Music, and are now readily available again. ‘Chasing Shadows’ completes the quartet and contains a bonus number to take it up to eleven. Playing this, one can see why Rolf picked Doogie to replace Tony, as this album has been heavily influenced by classic Dio in particular. I have always been a fan of Terrana’s playing, while Murray has a solid reputation for good reason, and here they link to provide a perfect platform for Doogie to strut his stuff. Perhaps somewhat strangely, given that it is his band, Rolf isn’t as much to the fore as one might imagine, but instead takes the role of accompanist with plenty of long chords.

This is solid classic melodic rock, very much in the style of classic Dio and Rainbow, although the keyboards aren’t nearly as pervasive. It is one that I really did enjoy playing, even if I couldn’t remember any of the songs afterwards.

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