There’s no preamble, let’s get straight to it. We have to because “Relentless” does. The title track doesn’t have an intro – so this review didn’t either. It just has an energy that’s well, relentless. What other word is there?

Coming in with a sound that’s both anthemic and intimate, Empyre’s music is perfectly suited for the arena stage. And that’s exactly where they want to be. “We write arena rock and playing arena stages is something we aim for. I won’t be happy until I’m standing on that arena stage,” says frontman Henrik Steenholdt in interviews. Lofty aims? Well maybe but if this was an American band (to paraphrase Grand Funk), then sad to say, but its true, they’d be being lauded and given covers in Kerrang!

But what really sets Empyre apart is their ability to blur the lines. Back in July I wrote this after seeing them live: “Of all the “new breed of British Rock,” I’d contend, though, that no one blurs the lines or makes more interesting music than Empyre.” Listen to the wonderful “Waking Light” and forget the fact you are wondering whether its Prog or hard rock (spoiler alert: its both) what you are listening to is something special.

They’ve got a gravitas. A cinematic quality. The choral opening to “Parasites” has got “blockbuster” written all over it. These songs have a pace of their own. They build, they fall and are heavier than you think, guitarist Did Coles and drummer Elliot Bale are to the fore, and even on “Parasites” – which kicks off like its on the Game of Thrones soundtrack, it’s like the starter gun goes off and there’s a big, thick metal riff from nowhere.

That this is released on Kscope – a prog label, who have Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Anathema, Katatonia, The Pineapple Thief, and TesseracT amongst their alumni – make sense, because what binds those bands together is a desire to innovate, to keep progressing prog, if you will. Right in the middle of this is “Hit And Run”, a huge ballad that takes in a bit of Pink Floyd, and is almost the centrepiece of the record, but that honour probably on balance, belongs to “Forget Me”. The dynamics of it are incredible.

I have to be truthful, of all the things I expected on this, a hard rock riff wasn’t top of the list. “Silence Screaming” has one, though and wouldn’t be too far out of place on the recent record that the aforementioned Katatonia put out. A quite brilliant song, it is difficult to think of any other UK band currently that would do this so well.

It’s the sheer scope of this music that hits you again and again. “Road To Nowhere” is a journey in itself, and it’s a vehicle for Steenholdt’s incredible voice and when he sings “we don’t know where we’re going, so every road will lead us there” you do wonder if he’s got half an eye on the music itself. Maybe there’s no set plan and each album goes where it will?

“Quiet Commotion” is slower, more deliberate, but there’s a darkness, as if its hiding a great truth that it won’t reveal. What is telling, as the bass pulses on “You’re Whole Life Slows”, and the guitar wails in the distance, is that it pulls off that neatest of tricks: it sounds epic in just over three minutes.

Indeed, that’s true of the rest of “Relentless”. So much ground does this cover that it scarcely seems credible that it can be done in just under 50 minutes. Yet, here we are.

“Relentless” is the album, surely, where people stop talking about Empyre as having “potential”. They’ve already shown they had that. “Relentless” is the record – certainly if there’s any justice left – that puts them where they deserve.

They were a great band already. Now they are on a different level still.

Rating 9.5/10

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