There is something very familiar about Falling Red and their explosion of heavy metal soaked with dirty hard and sleaze rock fire, a fusion which wakes up the passions like a merger of Motley Crue with Black Veil Brides and Black Stone Cherry. That aspect though is only a positive in the hands of the UK band which picks up well-trodden and arguably exhausted existing enterprise and brings it back to life in an invigorating and thrilling contagious rampage distinct to themselves. New album Empire Of The Damned is a storming riot of addictive hooks and incendiary grooves thrust into the heart of high octane anthemic and hard hitting rock ‘n’ roll. There is an eager buzz around the band right now and the album shows exactly why.
The Carlisle band formed in 2007 and has been stirring up audiences earning a strong reputation from almost day one with their renowned and incendiary live performances. Over the past years Falling Red has supported the likes of Sebastian Bach and Steel Panther, to strong acclaim, and sparked further attention with the Hasta La Victoria Siempre EP and 2010 debut album Shake The Faith. With successful headlining tours also under their belt the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Rozey, guitarist Jayde Starr, bassist Dann Marx, and drummer Dave Sanders set about creating and recording their Pledgemusic funded second album with Matt Elliss (The Black Spiders, The 1975), the mastering undertaken by Pete Maher (U2, Rolling Stones, Linkin Park) last year. Consisting of eleven insatiably ravenous and passionate encounters, the release is an anarchic and belligerent blaze of virulent rock infectiousness which easily ignites the senses and emotions.
Opener Time To Rise is a short scene setter, a breeze of melodic guitar behind defiant words which raises its temperature and intensity the further it declares its intent before a closing gentle coaxing makes way for the immediately antagonistic The Devil You Know. Punchy beats and energy charged riffs stalk and stroll through the ears whilst the vocals of Rozey hold a mischief to their fiery tempting. It is not a dramatically imposing and striking track but one which wakes an eager appetite for the album and gives a healthy indication of what is to come. Skilfully presented and fired up with an obvious passion, the song makes an infection clad access into the album.
Its potent invitation is soon put in the shade by the outstanding We Escaped A Cult, the new video single from the band. A radiant drizzle of guitar elegance provides the first breath of the song with skittish percussive invention dancing around its luring as Rozey again picks up strong attention. Soon into its heavy stride the track stomps into the imagination with addiction forging grooves and again openly predacious rhythms but equally with a charm and devilry that leave the emotions alert and enthused to join the action. With a Manson-esque swagger and great anthemic group vocals equally as flirtatious with the passions, the contagion is a masterful and thrilling encounter.
The groove driven Break Me takes little time in stealing its slice of the brewing fixation with the album, the sinew framed romp of taunting rhythms and toxically virulent riffery irresistible with the bass of Marx not for the last time having delicious rapacious savagery to its tone. That lure makes a similar call on the next up Outcast, Marx leading the song into another instantaneous and virulent temptation on the emotions. Shadow cloaked at the start evolving into a melodically flaming blaze of hungry rhythms and bold sonic causticity, the track then takes its allurement up multiple degrees with one of those salacious grooves which street corners were made for. It is a beast of a song with enticing of epidemic proportions as it makes a riotous rival for best song honours.
The exciting stature of the album is continued with Disposable, a twisting and swerving hook driven song with more enjoyable toxic bait than a rat trap, and the title track, though the second of the two takes longer to make its full persuasion. From an accomplished and engaging slow start the song is soon flexing muscle and intensity with passionate melodic and vocal expression to feed intrigue and satisfaction. It does not make the swift union of other songs with emotions even though everything about it sweats craft and enterprise. As suggested given time the track does reveal a depth and strength which is hard to dismiss or avoid as it adds another strong aspect to the album’s impressive character.
As The Defiled reminding We Are Reckless and the punk toned rocker No Sanctuary step forward with their irrepressible energy and adventure pleasure is kept at a high even if passions may be less intensively ignited, both nevertheless high octane provocations which still only invite eager attentiveness. The album is certainly stronger in its first two thirds than its last but as the scintillating predatory Lonely Way To Die with its acidic melodies and psyche infecting grooves shows there is still a bruising, exhilarating, and snarling proposition lying in wait to ignite the rioter in us all. Followed by the more predictable yet refreshingly digestible rocker Change For No One, Falling Red brings Empire of the Damned to a vigorous and imaginatively lustful close. The band may have been the rising storm on the radar of a great many but with their new album you can only see the awareness of the whole of the country’s rock ‘n’ roll community finding a greedy attraction towards their recognisable but still original tempestuous musical anarchy.
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