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Galahad - Empires Never Last CD (album) cover

EMPIRES NEVER LAST

Galahad

 

Neo-Prog

4.08 | 370 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Year One?

For many fans, Empires Never Last was the album on which Galahad finally found their way (back?) after years of producing sub-par albums. While I certainly agree that the present album is indeed better than their previous two albums and also one of their best ever, it is not, in my opinion, up to par with the classic Sleepers album from 1995. Several songs from this album deservedly became instant Galahad classics and live favourites and that is quite an achievement for a band that has been active for so many years. Songs like I Could Be God, This Life Could Be My Last and the title track will probably be in the Galahad set for all future (as long as the band continues to perform, that is) and there is no doubt that these songs are among the band's best ever. But sadly there are also a couple of weak moments on Empires Never Last.

Produced by Karl Groom, who for many years have straddled the divide between Neo-Prog and progressive Metal (he played with Clive Nolan in Shadowland before he formed Threshold), Empires Never Last is definitely Galahad's most aggressive effort. The electronic sounds are still here, but the guitars have a much harder edge. On the weak opening track De-Fi-Ance, Stuart Nicholson literally screams in the middle of the track for no apparent reason whatsoever. It is quite strange that they chose to open the album with this weird number, when they had such strong tunes within. In my opinion, I Could Be God would have made a much better opener. Termination follows and this too is not among my favourites, it comes across a bit as if the band are trying to outdo themselves here and they appear to be outside of their comfort zone.

Not until the third track, which is the aforementioned I Could Be God, does the album really get off the ground. This is a great track where the band feels a bit more at home combining electronic keyboards with a Metal-like guitar sound and strong vocals. They are still trying to be more aggressive than we are used to from the band, but it sounds more natural here than on the first two tracks.

Sidewinder is another pretty good song but Memories From An African Twin is merely decent. Karl Groom provides some tasteful acoustic guitar lines to this instrumental and it is by no means a bad one, just not very interesting. Neo-Prog guru Clive Nolan is also credited on the album for playing fake dulcimer! I think the dulcimer appears in De-Fi-Ance, but I'm not sure.

The strongest part of the album comes at the end and the last two tracks are very good. Overall, this is a fine album with a couple of Galahad's very best songs. Personally, I prefer these songs on the excellent live album that I have called Sleepless In Phoenixville - Live At RoSfest 2007 that contains only the best songs from this album plus several other Galahad classics including the very best tracks from Year Zero, Following Ghosts and Sleepers as well as a song that goes all the way back to the mid 80's.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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