30 Sep 2023

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Dead Empire - Single Review: Buckley

30 Mar 2023 // A review by Kris Raven

Mount Maunganui’s Dead Empire have been creating waves throughout the Aotearoa music scene recently, their name has been coming up on my radar via various shows throughout the North Island. The feedback I have heard from musicians and fans alike about their solid live performance and vibe with comparisons to the likes of bands like Tool have left me very intrigued.

Coming off the back of 2022 single release Where You Found Me which showcased their hard rock/prog rock stylings, recently released single Buckley is different again. The intro was quite trippy, a tasteful guitar piece that sounds like it's being played through an old record player. The song then quickly escalates to pounding toms and a 6/4 rhythm which really lays back and lets the groove roll. The bass line ebbs and flows around the guitar main guitar riff, adding an additional stylistic presence. 

What really struck me was the vocal stylings of lead singer Kaine, he has a very powerful voice but he can really pull back and then as the song shifts gear, his vocals build to the next level, creating a sense of urgency. The production has a rawer live feel but all the instruments are really well balanced in the mix. Once we hit the chorus, the main vocal melody is super hooky and the off-beat fills add that extra feel. I also really liked the vocal effect (or keyboards) used post chorus, adding that extra layer of majestic wonderment. The outro/breakdown has a really cool swing to it with the offbeat crash and china cymbals wavering as the main guitar riff carries the song out to end back where it all started.

It's great to see this song has been picked up by mainstream and independent radio stations around Aotearoa. Buckley is structurally and musically progressive but accessible and the vocal melodies after a few spins will live in your head. I look forward to seeing Dead Empire live, one too watch! 

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Dead Empire

Dead Empire is a four-piece original prog rock band based in Mount Maunganui NZ. Exploring unique time signatures paired with catchy song lyrics, Dead Empire brings an energetic presence to any type of audience.

Teaming up with artists across NZ, Dead Empire aims to break stereotypes of fitting into specific genres of music. These guys are an awesome live act and have to be seen..

This write-up won't do them justice.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dead Empire


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