Deathcore with electronic influences is something I recall saying I did not see a big future for and felt was a gimmick. Now I am definitely far from accurate on everything I say and I am fine with being proven wrong that a certain type of music is good. In steps Rogue Empire. These guys have tons keyboards and electronic backgrounds to their sound that essentially build the atmosphere of the album in its entirety. The band are not combining dubstep and deathcore, which would likely be an atrocity, instead they are basically taking Born Of Osiris’s keyboard ideas and capitalizing on it.
Overlord is a fairly straight forward deathcore album aside from the ever present keyboard parts. These guys are not breaking an new ground with this album, but rather setting the tone of their music very well. This is the band’s first full length release, after releasing an EP in 2012, and it is safe to say this is a very solid start to their career.
There are clear influences from deathcore giants such as the previously mentioned Born Of Osiris, but also After The Burial, Whitechapel, and Veil Of Maya. Like tons of other deathcore bands out there Rogue Empire doesn’t tend to have too much lead guitar work or more specifically guitar solo’s, sticking to riffing and in their case letting the keyboards take the lead work. There are some instances though where a lead guitar part becomes prominent, and it works really well. ‘Empyrean’ and ‘Dissolving Liberty’ are good examples, we get a few small bits of lead work that make me wish the album had had more lead work all throughout. It’s definitely something I hope they can incorporate more on future albums.
Another thing that’s pretty impressive about this album is that the average track length is over five minutes, save for 2 tracks, one of which is just under five minutes. Even though this album is close to 50 minutes in length it doesn’t feel like it drags on at all. There are some parts where the riffing feels a bit recycled, but the riffs combined with the keyboards prevent things from getting stale at any point in time. The vocals are also pretty killer too, Ryan Stetz has a voice that seems to be somewhere between Born Of Osiris vocalist Ronnie Canizaro, particularly when they layer the mid level screams and low growls, and Dweller vocalist Steve Samonek.
Overall Overlord is a great first release, the band plays with plenty elements of atmosphere and for the most part is works very well. Specifically towards the end of the album there’s a part on the track ‘Legion’ where we get this dark clean electric guitar part that creates a really haunting atmosphere and it’s one of the best moments on the album and then the following track ‘Ghost’ has a very eerie opening which uses the electronic elements in a different way than the rest of the album. It would be interesting to see them use more elements like this in their future work, and I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.