When I first heard about Galactic Empire (the band and not the beloved Rebel scum crushing ultimate power in the galaxy) it was through a YouTube video of their rendition of The Imperial March. Now this is a song I’ve heard just about every take on; Elevator music, Indian instrumentation, floppy disk drives, and of course, the countless metal covers.
So what sets this one apart and makes it so great?
Searching for other videos and songs to get a taste of the album before I decided to buy it, it was immediately clear how much love and attention to detail went into making this album. In an interview with NME late last year with the band’s lead guitarist Dark Vader (read it here), it was discussed how it took months to dissect each piece of the original John Williams score from the films. No note was left overlooked, and once the arrangements were worked out and made playable in a metal format, the results are incredible. It’s a testament both to the writing of Mr. Williams and the creative drive of the band to adapt the music to an entirely new style.
This debut self-titled effort is eleven tracks of music from the first six Saga films. Most of the music is from the Original Trilogy, but with a name like Galactic Empire it’s not surprising that the original films were favored in the selection process. The most iconic tracks from the films are represented with great instrumentation. Guitarists Dark Vader, Red Guard, and Shadow Ranger have a great harmony together, and pack in an amazing amount of layers to the music without the original full orchestra to back them up. But what we do get – heavy, punching bass from the Bass Commander and fill-heavy drumming from Boba Sett – make me wonder who needs an orchestra anyway. And did I fail to mention they perform in full Imperial (and Mandalorian) body armor?
Whether you like guitar harmonies, fast-paced technical drumming, or just reimagined film score instrumentals, there’s a lot to enjoy on this album. Personally I’m already looking forward to more, assuming they don’t melt onstage in that armor. With new movies coming every year there’s plenty of good music for these guys to reinterpret brilliantly.
For more information on Galactic Empire, and to watch their career with great interest, check them out and follow them on Facebook. You can find tour dates, some awesome merchandise, and more information about buying the album in the format of your choice.