Galahad - 'Empires Never Last: Deluxe Edition'

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Galahad - 'Empires Never Last: Deluxe Edition'

I simply can't recommend this album highly enough.

The role of a reviewer is to approach an album objectively and give an unbiased opinion on what they hear... oh bugger it, I love 'Empires Never Last', always have, always will. It's the album which introduced me to Galahad and one I go back to on an extremely regular basis. Arguably the two studio efforts which followed, 'Battle Scars' and 'Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria', are more rounded and possessing of a broader outlook and yet, 'Empires...' is still my main Galahad of choice.

Eight years down the line and the low rumble which offers up a beautiful female vocal (both Sarah Bolter and Tina Booth contribute to the album) still raises expectations and anticipation as the poignant piece wends its way towards front-man Stuart Nicholson's album shaping cry of "DE-FI-ANCE". From here the ride begins in earnest; church organ slamming into gurgling riffage as we race headlong into 'Termination'. The whole album, as Galahad have a knack for, hammers home the message portrayed in its title and yet the lyrics to this second song could as easily be about political leaders as they could the break-up of a long term relationship; lyrical double meanings a skill constantly employed.

For a song nearly a decade old, that 'I Could Be God' still has the power to stop you in your tracks and raise every hair on your arms, neck and head and keep them to attention across fourteen minutes of schizophrenic vocals, grating guitars, roaming bass and stunning keyboards, is testament to how powerful a beast it is. From there, most albums would wilt under such a gargantuan statement and yet 'Sidewinder' cleverly changes focus, sparkling yet dark keys aid a slow build towards the romp of 'Memories Of An African Twin', which adds a mesmeric twist. This allows the album's title track a slow build up which rivals '...God' for power and impact and the chameleon-like 'This Life Could Be My Last' to shimmer the album to a glorious close.

Unusually this re-mastered/re-mixed re-issue finds the re-dux handled by the same person who crafted the original, Threshold's Karl Groom doing a stunning job on both. However, this tweaked, smoothed then roughed up version retains the immediacy of the original, while offering something a little different; the odd section of vocals altered in tone, a few little atmospheric splashes brought to the fore. Add in an "alternate" take of 'Termination' and '...Last' (the addition of which removes the "hidden" close that featured on the original) and I simply can't recommend this album highly enough. But then you'd guessed that already, hadn't you...?

Steven Reid

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