This six song offering is the debut EP from Bradford post-hardcore four-piece Empire Will Wait. Despite the name, the band don’t hang around. They go straight for the jugular from the off, with brutal machine gun drumming introducing the title track. Shouty versus melodic vocal dueling between joint lead singers Aaron Hetherington and Jonny Fletcher defines their sound.
It calls to mind Henry Rollins duetting with Brian Molko, with At The Drive In as backing band. On second track, ‘Those Who Challenge The Sun’, we get more of it, but also hints of Faith No More, a dollop of Megadeth, maybe even a snifter of Metallica. Then for a complete surprise. Third track, ‘At The Gate Of Truth’, is so gentle by comparison to what went before, it could be a different band. With a soft spoken word intro and middle-eight, it has echoes of Scottish indie heroes Idlewild or Mogwai, though the ever-present American-accented vocals suggest the band are looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. Heaviness returns in no uncertain terms for tracks four and five – ‘Oscar Romero’ and ‘Wolf Cry’ – before they sign off with ‘Anchors’.
This is the EP’s most accomplished track, starting innocuously enough, but crescendoing to a climax with reverbed vocals and proper guitar hero riffage. There’s much to be impressed by in this debut EP. Musically, Empire Will Wait are pretty damn tight and they’ve got ideas coming out of their ears. The presumed self-production is a little tinny in places, but that’s nit-picking. A sterling effort.