Black Orchid Empire (“with an I”, as they are at pains to say) play “Death From Above” at the end of the gig here. As they do singer/guitarist Paul Visser loosens his hairband to remove his ponytail. He then headbangs his way through the gargantuan opening riff. Safe to say, then, that they’ve had a good night. It’s not just the headline act with a new record out, the trio put out the brilliant “Tempus Veritas” last week, and one of its stand-out moments “The Raven” proves its class. That’s one of just a couple they play from it, preferring instead to showcase some older material. BOE, though, exist in their intricacies, their dynamics and their ability to compel. “Winter Keeps Us Warm” is a massive singalong thing, “My Favourite Stranger” is built around a pounding bass, while the expanse of this is best shown, perhaps, in “Singularity” which opens the set and “Evergreen” which comes towards the end. Not many support bands have this range, this ability and these songs. They go under the radar a little, do Black Orchid Empire. That needs to change

Back in 2016, Visser had said in their set BOE had given Empyre (“with a Y…..”) their first gig it was, the frontman had noted with a smile “quite cute, really”.

Fast forward seven years and Northampton’s finest are playing their biggest headline gig, officially to launch their superb “Relentless” album. It has been out a couple of weeks, and across the course of their set here they play all of it (although credit to them, they don’t reel it off in order). Instead, they construct the show perfectly and it’s clear- despite the self-deprecation on stage that they have done everything possible to make this special.

Arriving to a warm reception (“No. This can’t happen, we need boos” reckons singer Henrik Steenholdt) with “Fading Light”, you can’t help but notice the sheer scope of the show. Visuals flash up on the big screen to match the size of the sound. This is the show that Empyre have always deserved. The way Steenholdt roars the line “the future’s bright” means the metaphors write themselves.

Never mind the stage show, however, the songs are what matters. And “Parasites” another from the new collection underlines the talent they’ve got, while “My Bad” and “Stone” from their debut, rather point to the fact that they’ve always been special.

That’s about the shape of the show. “Relentless” tracks interspersed with some of the choice cuts from “Self Aware”. There’s one cover. David Guetta’s “Titanium” (this version is colossal, I won’t claim knowledge of the original), but it’s followed with “Cry Wolf”, which comes alive here.

“Your Whole Life Slows” is huge, “Road To Nowhere” (“we’d better rock this up, we’re killing the vibe” jokes the singer) and a wonderful “Silence Screaming” are all very well, but there’s a moment in “Homegrown” that seems to sum it up. Steenholdt plays a chord as it changes gear and in that moment, I’d wager, whatever he says to the contrary, that he believes. Like we all do.

“Hit And Run” ends “Relentless” and whilst they were never going off for an encore, “Only Way Out” which features guitarist Did Coles on piano before it explodes, and “New Republic” are a de facto one anyway.

The first time I heard Empyre, it was an inescapable fact that they sounded like an arena rock band (albeit on their terms and without sounding like anyone else) tonight was an arena rock show in all but name.

Their biggest show? Maybe, their biggest show to date is a better way of putting it.

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