I cannot get over how far The Empire Shall Fall have come in such a short time. their debut, Awaken, is good. Really Good. Volume I: Solar Plexus (The first of a planned trilogy of EP’s that will eventually be collected into an album with some extras) takes all of that energy and emotion found on Awaken as well as all of the influences of Jesse Leach’s previous bands, throws it in a blender, and creates a sound that is both reminiscent yet unique. And who would’ve thought that the guy who fronted one of the leaders of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal would end up fronting a band on par with Meshuggah sonically and technically?

The first thing that The Empire Shall Fall proved when they exploded onto the scene was that Jesse Leach never lost the pipes to front a metal band. His last band, Seemless (You haven’t checked these guys out yet?!?), was a decidedly different animal that KSE and shared more in common with Kyuss and Soundgarden than, say, Lamb of God. Volume I proves this even more.

Volume I begins with “The Genesis Of These Scars” and it immediately lets you know that The Empire Shall Fall have not been sitting on their asses since Awaken was released in 2009 and Leach took some time to do Times Of Grace. Within three short minutes, TESF get right in your face and let you know they mean business concluding with a grand chorus encompassing the sharp riffs provided by Jake Davenport and Marcus De Lisle.

The appropriately title dub interlude “Dubrise” segues nicely into the prog of “Narrow, The Path I Walk Part I” which in turn segues to some more prog and some sick guitar work (And some organs and some great rhythmic low end courtesy of bassist Nick Sollecito and drummer Jeff Pitts)  in “Narrow, The Path I Walk Part II”. In fact, if you don’t pay attention Volume I could be over before you even have a chance to listen closely. It’s short (Hey, it’s an EP!) and the first four songs fly right by but it’s a great twenty-four minutes.

Equal parts Meshuggah, Pulse Ultra, and Mudvayne (Don’t hate! They did some awesome prog metal on their debut!), Volume I is a great (re) introduction to The Empire Shall Fall and shows great promise of what is to come in 2012.

Volume I: Solar Plexus is available now at these fine digital retailers located here and here.

Grade: A

Catch them on tour in the new year:

01/06 Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus
01/07 Kearny, NJ – Irish American Association
01/13 Providence, RI – Fete
01/14 Boston, MA – Great Scott

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