Silent Force – The Empire Of Future
The Empire Of Future
The year 2000 brought about a series of revelations for humankind: Y2K didn’t kill us all, mullets still weren’t cool, and Iron Maiden sure as heck could still kick ass. A younger DC Cooper, after being abruptly fired from Royal Hunt (A mistake that both Cooper and the band would later correct most satisfactorily), decided a new band was in order. Together with Sinner guitarist Alex Beyrodt, Silent Force was founded and the band’s debut album, The Empire Of Future, saw the light of day.
Fusing tried and true German power metal with a few progressive influences and Cooper’s distinct voice, the band’s first release differs considerably from their later, better known work. The concept of a future society and its greyed morality is perhaps Cooper and Beyrodt’s own narrative upon the turn of the millennium and mankind’s gradual descent into moral depravity. Regardless, the lyrical content is consistent, focused, and highly introspective. Rare enough are power metal songs that examine human behavior and spiritual beliefs maturely and in detail, and now we have an entire album on the subject. It’s nothing terrifically deep, but certainly a refreshing lyrical distraction from dragons, unicorns, spaceships, and metal. To sum up succinctly, I will use the band’s words, printed in the artwork: If revenge makes our lives worth living, then we haven’t learned anything.
Musically, The Empire Of Future is just flirting with being true progressive power metal. This is due more to tonality and chordal progressions than any real structure, since the latter exhibits the influence of German power/speed work quite strongly. Choruses are strong but not always the most immediately memorable. Melodically, the album seems to be a work in progress on my brain. Every time I hear this album, the more that I recall, and the more that I want to hear it. However, it’s still not on the same glorious musical plateau of later albums Worlds Apart and Walk The Earth, as it seems to lack the necessary textural depth that really makes them great.
Cooper’s vocals are heavily layered and sometimes seem a bit muffled on this album. Overall he’s not as bright or as clear as he is in later works, but this may be partially due to production. Despite the length of songs like “New Experiment” and the title track, Cooper and company dextrously avoid monotony with some more steady power metal tracks like “Six Past The Hour” and “Saints And Sinners”. I’ll admit that my first go with this album ended with my switching it out for Worlds Apart for something I found more entertaining. Though it still can’t achieve the same counts of melody and majesty, I’m increasingly convinced that this album delivers the goods quite well. The only weak track is the ballad “I’ll Be There” (proof that no one other than Beyrodt and Cooper should help write songs), and it is considerably overpowered by the excellence of standouts “Live For The Day” and “Broken Wings”.
If you enjoy later Silent Force, especially Walk The Earth, The Empire Of Future is arguably a better bet than other works, as it provides a more intense listening experience, along with some thought-provoking lyricism and proggy neo-classical touches. Similarly, it would be the last of the band’s albums that I’d give to someone into more melodic power metal. However, the quality of composition and execution on this debut speaks for itself, and while it’s a grower, it has potential to appeal to anyone enjoying either proggy power or Cooper’s work.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5