Empire is the hard rock band led by German guitarist Rolf Munkes (ex-Majesty, ex-Razorback, Crematory) which released four exceptional albums in between 2001 and 2007. On these releases, Munkes was accompanied by numerous high-class musicians.
Now, 10 years on, Pride & Joy Music is set to re-release those albums in revised versions, with a bonus track on Chasing Shadows.
The story of Empire began in 2001 with the release of the album Hypnotica (Lion Music) which featured both the American singers Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) and Lance King (ex-Nightmare) on vocals. The line-up at the time was completed by Neil Murray (bass, ex-Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), Gerald Klos (drums), Anders Johansson (drums, ex-Stratovarius) and Don Airey (keyboards, ex-Rainbow, Deep Purple). Rolf Munkes produced Hypnotica himself while the mix was handled by Stefan Kaufmann (ex-Accept, ex-U.D.O.).
A year later, Trading Souls, the band’s second album came out also on Lion Music. The CD once again was produced by Munkes with the mix being handled by Kaufmann.
On this release, singer extraordinaire Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath) replaced King and Boals on the vocal spot.
Tony Martin also sang on the most successful CD from Empire, The Rave Ride, which was released in 2006 on German label Metal Heaven. Besides Munkes, who also produced and mixed this release himself at his own Empire Studios in Bensheim, Germany, Neil Murray again took care of the bass work whilst the drums this time were handled by ex-Rage/ex-Axxis drummer André Hilgers.
In 2007, Chasing Shadows was released once again on Metal Heaven and the first record to feature former Rainbow singer Doogie White in the line-up. Mike Terrana (ex-Rage, ex-Axel Rudi Pell, Tarja Turunen) also joined the group on drums.
With the quality of musicians on these albums, hopefully, these re-issues can inspire a whole new generation of Empire fans.