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Galahad - Empires Never Last CD (album) cover





4.12 | 438 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 189

'Empires Never Last' is the eighth studio album of Galahad and was released in 2007. Through this album, Galahad invited the contribution of Karl Groom, the guitarist of Threshold, on some additional guitar work. Karl is also credited with co-production, engineering and the overall sound of the album. No wonder that the album has some flavour of progressive metal, especially in the use of guitar riffs. So, the final sound of the album is much heavier than the sound of all their previous studio albums. In reality, their last studio albums have taken them towards a much heavier sound, creating a unique and modern sound whilst retaining very occasional nods to their more 'progressive' past.

Karl Groom is a British guitarist and record producer. He his best known as the founding member of the progressive rock metal band Threshold, but he also played guitar on other bands like Mercy Train, Shadowland and Strangers On A Train. As a producer, he is mostly known for metal styles production of various bands like his own band Threshold and Dragon Force. But he has also worked on other progressive rock acts including Yes, Pendragon and John Wetton.

'Empires Never Last' has seven tracks. The first track 'De-Fi-Ance' is divided into two parts: 'Part 1' and 'Part 2'. It begins with a beautiful female choral vocals formed by Tina Groom, Sarah Quitter and Tina Booth, before Stuart Nicholson growls the name of the track in the style of the death metal music. This is a magnificent, astonishing and surprising musical overture that sets perfectly the overall tone of the album, showing that the Galahad's sound appears to have changed. The second track 'Termination' confirms the first impression and expectation that we are in presence of a Galahad's album completely different from their previous studio albums. This is a magnificent, astonishing and surprising track which comprises heavy guitar and bass riffs perfectly sustained by excellent keyboards, drums and vocal works. It's a very bombastic track that puts the album on a very high musical quality level. The third track 'I Could Be God' is the lengthiest track on the album that keeps the album in a very high quality level. It's a very energetic track, in the same mood of the previous tracks. This is a fantastic piece of progressive music with a very melancholic musical ambience and where Martin Luther King's famous and touching speech fits very well, bringing to my memory also the famous and touching speech made by Winston Churchill that appears on 'Fool's Overture' of Supertramp. Curiously, some vocal parts of the album, in the middle of the track just before Martin Luther King's speech, reminds me Rush, from the times of 'Hemispheres'. The fourth track 'Sidewinder' is also another great song and confirms that we are in presence of a great progressive album, which is probably a truly masterpiece. It's a track that opens with a very cool and pacific musical atmosphere and where we can hear some portions of George Bush's speeches. It's a song with an excellent musical atmosphere and where we can highlight a great guitar work, a beautiful keyboard performance and a very catchy choral job. Karl Groom appears on the song with a solo. The fifth track 'Memories From An African Twin' is another surprising track, but this time, because we are in presence of a different kind of song. It's a more classic song, nothing heavy and with a jazzier style in the end. It's a song based on acoustic guitar, harpsichord and pipe organ and is the only song on the album without lyrics, despite have some choral work. It's the weaker track on the album but doesn't spoil the overall quality of the album. The sixth track is the title track 'Empires Never Last'. It represents the return of the album to its overall mood. This is one of the most powerful tracks of the album and represents another highlight. It's a track with an excellent musical balance between the heavy and mellow parts of the song. The seventh and last track 'This Life Could Be My Last Life' is a very emotional song that makes us think about the significance of our life and that like the empires we also doesn't last forever. It's a pleasant, beautiful and melodic track, a fine rock ballad with hard rocking guitar riffs, in the same mood of the rest of the album. It's the perfect ending for a great album.

Conclusion: 'Empires Never Last' is, in my humble opinion, a masterpiece and one of the best neo-prog albums ever made. There are bands that can grow with the passage of time, becoming more mature and innovative. This is the case of Galahad. They seem to me very similar with to Port wine, the older the better. 'Empires Never Last' is a very strong album, perfectly balanced and superiorly produced and that doesn't have any disappointing or any truly weak point. It's a departure from their previous works with a little more emphasis on keyboards and guitars. It has a more modern sound which is sometimes more close to metal. I dare to say that Galahad, with this album, made one of the greatest contributions to the category of 'British Neo-Prog' and is setting definitively a place alongside such established names in the neo-prog rock sub-genre, such as Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Pallas and Arena. If Galahad continues to innovate with this high musical quality level, I sincerely hope that they don't crumble and fall, and that they can will last forever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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