A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…the debut album from Galactic Empire has arrived.
Well this is something you don’t expect to be listening too…an album that takes the classic John Williams Star Wars score & ‘metals’ it up. 11 of the most famous Star Wars tracks played out in an heavy, aggressive style. It’s the kind of thing that sounds great on paper but really shouldn’t work.
The first two tracks are arguably the two most recognisable, the Main Star Wars theme & The Imperial March. The former is utterly fantastic, instantly recognisable even with the screech of guitars & pounding drum beats. It’s the perfect blend of metal & Star Wars & really gets you pumped for what follows. Unfortunately the latter of the two just doesn’t have the same effect.
It starts off strongly but the metal interferes a little too much resulting in its 3 minutes dragging & sounding less intimidating. The Imperial March just doesn’t lend itself well to a heavy metal sound nor does Duel of the Fates. A bombastic piece of music from Episode One it ends up feeling stunted & forced here. It lacks impact even if it’s admirable that an attempt to ‘metal it up’ was even tried.
A similar huge impact piece from Episode 3, Battle of the Heroes (when Obi-Wan & Anakan fight) is far better though. It’s really well done, hammering home the epicness of that fight. The drumming is so intense that it sends you back to the first time you saw it & it definitely helps that the battle between the Jedi & Sith felt very metal.
A lot of the time the slower pieces of the score seem to work way better. The Force Theme is wonderful, really fist-pumping stuff & it’s near impossible to be topped. Although for the laugh factor, The Cantina Band song almost manages it. Credit to Galactic Empire for having the balls to do this particular piece of music.
What is surprising about this album is how much variety is actually thrown in. Pieces of music that share similar sounds in the movie are given their own special treatment here. Ben’s Death/Tie Fighter Attack holds its own even though the base tune is instantly recognisable.
The guitar work throughout can’t be faulted, there is a hell of a lot of effort that has gone into this & it is very heart-warming. Clearly there is a lot of love for Star Wars here.
The final three tracks are a mixed bunch with Across the Stars sounding great but lacking a decent punch & The Forest Battle almost managing to match the films feel but falling a bit short. It’s the final track…The Throne Room/End Title that ends things on a wonderful high. Like the opening it’s one of the best & most instantly recognisable pieces of Star Wars music & it lends itself to the metal style perfectly.
It’s the perfect way to cap off an album that you’d never thought you’d actually be listening too let alone that it would turn out to be so damn good. It’s got its problems, some songs lose their impact but for the most part this is a glorious metal tribute to some of the greatest films ever.
Overall Track Listing:
1. Main Theme
2. The Imperial March
3. Duel of Fates
4. The Force Theme
5. The Asteroid Field
6. Battle of the Heroes
7. Cantina Band
8. Ben’s Death/Tie Fighter Attack
9. Across the Stars
10. The Forest Battle
11. The Throne Room/End Title
Galactic Empire - Galactic Empire (Rise Records)