Album review: EMPIRE – Hypnotica (+3)

Pride & Joy Music [Release date 24.02.17]

Pride & Joy Music are set to re-release Empire’s four albums throughout 2017 and start off with the band’s debut album ‘Hypnotica’, originally released back in 2001. Empire were formed by guitarist Rolf Munkes (Majesty/Razorback/Crematory) and on this album he was joined by vocalist Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/Ring Of Fire) and Lance King (ex-Balance Of Power), bassist Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake/Black Sabbath),  drummers Gerald Klos and  Anders Johansson (ex-Stratovarius) and on keyboards Deep Purple’s Don Airey.

Lance King handles the vocals on the majority of the songs, with highlights including ‘You’re All That I Am Looking For’, sounding like prime time Triumph and it has a big, sing-a-long chorus. ‘Bad Bad Boy’ rocks like a good ‘un, with a suitably fast and furious solo from Rolf Munkes. Speaking of Munkes playing, he gets a chance to shine on the instrumental ’A Different Sign’.

Mark Boals adds a little more metal to the proceedings on ‘Into The Light’, a fast paced rioff driven tune. Shades of Europe on ‘Spread Your Wings’, with its harmony filled chorus and listen out for the tasty Hammond playing of Don Airey on this one.

This re-issue adds three bonus songs, namely ‘Dogtown Shuffle’ which is okay nothing special, however the instrumental ‘Take A Look Around’ and the acoustic version of ‘Spread Your Wings’ are well worth hearing.

If you missed out on this album first time around grab a copy of this re-issue, an enjoyable mix of melodic hard rock and metal. All four of Empire’s albums are worth owning, more so now with these added bonus songs on each re-issue. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie



On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)



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