Empire – Trading Souls [2003]

EMPIRE_TS1Country Germany          Style Melodic Hard Rock

Rating 85/100

Band Members
Don Airey – Keyboards, Gerald Kloos – Drums, Neil Murray – Bass, Rolf Munkes – Guitars, Tony Martin – Vocals

Tracks
01. One In A Million (4:05), 02. Pay Back Time (4:44), 03. Teenage Deadhead (4:45), 04. Big World, Little Man (4:08), 05. You (4:48), 06. Perfect Singularity (4:39), 07. Wherever You Go (4:23), 08. Did You Ever Love Me (4:45), 09. Comin’ Home (4:16), 10. Back InThe Light (4:15)

Profile “Trading Souls” is the second studio album by melodic hard rock project “Empire” originally released in 2003, reissued in 2012 by “Lion Music”. “Empire” was one of the musical vehicles for German songwriter/guitar hero Rolf Munkes who beyond his technical skills, seemed to draw the attention of many better known musicians.

The line up of “Trading Souls” features such rock legends as bassist Neil Murray (“Whitesnake”, “Black Sabbath”), keyboardist Don Airey (Ozzy, “Deep Purple”) and vocal titan Tony Martin (“Black Sabbath”) alongside Rolf Munkes and drummer Gerald Kloos.

“Empire” is first and foremost a songwriting-driven album emphasizing on infectious guitar harmonies and irresistible vocal melodies. Songs like “One in a Million”, “Perfect Singularity”, “Wherever you go” and “Pay Back time” perfectly justify why these rock legends were eager to participate in this project. It has to be addressed that “Trading souls” is far from an over-produced album, in fact, by contemporary production standards you could label it as minimalistic; particularly when considering the rather thin drum sound. The 2012 re-issue has clearly refined the album as far as mastering is concerned without of course altering its light-weight essence. Overall almost a decade past its release, “Trading Souls” should rightfully be considered a classic album of the genre where the founders of the genre meet the talented newcomer.

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Nikiforos V. Skoumas

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