added: 31 Jan 2013
// release date: 4 Feb 2013 // label: Red Bull Records
reviewer: Ian Pemberton
Filthy Empire is the debut full length album by UK 'cock rock' merchants, Heaven's Basement, and if you like tight leather pants and your musicians wearing cowboy boots, you are in for a treat. A mainstay on the UK touring circuit supporting huge American bands such as Papa Roach and Black Stone Cherry, even opening for Bon Jovi, it was inevitable that the band would soon be knocking on the door of success. But will Filthy Empire be the catalyst to catapult this band into the limelight?
The album starts with an upbeat, straight up slab of rock n roll, 'Welcome Home', setting the tone for the majority of the album. Immediately evident is the powerful vocal delivery of vocalist, Aaron Buchanan, who despite sounding slightly like a rougher version of Justin Hawkins (minus the annoying falsetto), is a commanding presence, especially on the impressive foot-stomper, 'Fire Fire'.
Guitarist Sid Glover shows some flashes of riff mastery, especially on the metallic Judas Priest flavoured album standout, 'I Am Electric'. The track combines a pulsating drum beat with Buchanan delivering probably the best verses of the entire album before exploding into a chorus that sounds crafted for arenas. 'Lights Out in London' sounds particularly anthemic and is one of the high points of the release.
Indeed, the band show that they have an ear for the big sing-along chorus, however a couple of tracks are instantly forgettable despite being catchy on the initial listen. The inevitable token 80's style ballad 'The Price We Pay', also falls flat and feels distinctly unspectacular and empty. Thankfully the band realise that their true strengths lie in their oozing hard rock swagger and this is a small blip at the end of an otherwise solid release which ends strongly with the double whammy of 'Jump Back' and 'Executioner's Day'.
Filthy Empire isn't a bad album by any measure. On the other hand, it does absolutely nothing to push the envelope, remaining content to regurgitate the stylings of their more successful peers and pay tribute to the iconic bands of yesteryear. Heaven's Basement on their debut shows promise for a fruitful future, but they have a lot of work to do if they want to carve out their own legacy in an over-saturated and increasingly stale niche of rock music. Upwards and onwards is the only way forward for Heaven's Basement.
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