When you think of great video game, fantasy, and sci-fi cover bands, what pops into your head? Is it the awesome acoustics of Powerglove with their Nintendo odes? How about Two Steps from Hell’s classical epics that draw you into the background of darker games? Or is it the Queen-esque sounds of the Protomen‘s Mega Man ballads? Well buckle up, because I have a treat for you. Introducing Galactic Empire, a Star Wars metal cover album that is every bit as hard as it is instantly, and recognizably, authentic.
Let me know when you’ve recovered and are ready to hear more.
If along with the brilliance of John Williams there’s a closet metal-head, he would be marveled by the excellent and on-target sound of electric guitar, bass, and drums; all of which are added to the Star Wars composition. As soon as “Dual of the Fates” came on, with its nod to the original, angelic, non-instrumental opening of a passionate choir, every hair on my head stood on end. Like the iconic ad for Hitachi featuring Blown-Away Man, I could only slump into my speaker-surrounded gaming chair as the magic was reformed through the veil of metal. Arguably one of the only positive memories many of us have from from Ep I: The Phantom Menace was when this song hit while Qui-Gon Jin, a young Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul had their life-or-death duel in the climax of the movie. I swear to God, with this cover and the reminiscence of that scene through this lens, all is forgiven.
The album spans the Star Wars universe, echoing a more somber tone through their interpretation of “The Force Theme,” only to jump in with a hilariously unexpected cover of the “Cantina Band” (aka Figrin D’an and the Modal Node) from Ep. IV: A New Hope. Just when you think the band has run the gamut, they tear back into the tense, but hopeful, songs. Across the Stars, gives a gloriously powerful cover of “Battle of the Heroes” that causes nostalgia and remembrance to hit as Boba Sett goes into awesome Demon Hunter style overdrive on the drums, then slams the thing home with a spot-on, tone-perfect, revisit to The Throne Room’s final scene.
The band’s love of physical authenticity must be mentioned with its sporting of Star Wars puns, cosplay music videos, and plenty of fan photos from their Facebook page, which deserves a write-up all its own.
While nearly lyric-less, this album speaks volumes to the talent and re-imagination of one of the most classic collections of music in modern times. While this mix of metal and sci-fi nostalgia is admitted a more niche market than many, to those of us that believe and feel for both these genres, let me be the first to say: Fantastic job.