Courtesy: Rise Records
Today is May the fourth. For most of us non-Star Wars fans, that doesn’t really mean much. However, for those devout (some perhaps a bit overly devout), it means a bit more. It is a day for those fans to publicly celebrate their love of Star Wars. Of course, that is just because May the Fourth is a sound-a-like for the noted franchise’s famed quote, “May The Force Be With You.” A clear vision leaves one wondering why Star Wars fans would make such a big deal over it all. Either way, Rise Records is celebrating, too with the release of Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II. The 11-song collection of amped up alternate takes of John Williams’ compositions is a good way for those overly devout fans to celebrate their love of Star Wars not only today, but any day. That is due in part to the album’s song list. It will be discussed shortly. The collected arrangements within those songs are just as important to the record’s whole as the songs, and will be discussed a little later. The album’s sequencing puts the final touch on its presentation. Between that element and the others noted, all three elements collectively make Episode II a record that any Star Wars fan will welcome into his or her music library.
Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II is a compilation that any truly devout Star Wars devotee will welcome in his or her music library regardless of May the Fourth or any other day. That is due in no small part to the record’s featured songs. The 11 songs featured in this recording, cover a respectable amount of the Star Wars franchise. While maybe not as extensive as the representation presented in the band’s self-titled 2017 debut, it still at least makes an effort to not alienate audiences. The Force Awakens is the most heavily represented of the Star Wars movies in this collection, with a total of four of its songs featured. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi each get two nods while Episode I and Episode II each get one nod alongside A New Hope, which also got only one nod. Considering that so far nine full-length Star Wars movies have been released, and at least a 10th (Solo: A Star Wars Story) is on the way, one cannot deny the importance of the movies covered here. The only movies not represented in this collection are Episode III, The Last Jedi and Rogue One. Other than that, this compilation once again reaches back into Star Wars’ original trilogy, its prequel trilogy and even The Force Awakens. Keeping this in mind, the record’s featured songs prove to be critical to its presentation as they pay homage to such a wide swath of the Star Wars canon. This is something that any Star Wars devotee will appreciate about this record just as much as Galactic Empire’s 2017 self-titled debut. It is of course only one of the album’s important elements. The songs’ collective arrangements are critical in their own right to the album’s presentation.
Much as with Galactic Empire’s debut album, the arrangements featured here stay mostly true to their source material in their own presentations. However, there are obviously some differences, considering that they are all amped up takes on the original compositions. Case in point is the band’s take of ‘The Emperor.’ The original, which was included in the soundtrack of Return of the Jedi, is an impressively ominous composition that expertly sets the scene for the really big introduction of Emperor Palpatine to Luke. Galactic Empire’s take on the song presents its own ominous tone, except in a much different fashion. The band’s take on the song is a rather, death metal-esque arrangement complete with the blast beats, shredding and ominous overtones. At the same time that it displays that death metal sound in its arrangement, it also still maintains that power metal sound which made Galactic Empire a fan favorite on the band’s debut album. ‘Hyperspace’ is another interesting addition to the album. Originally included in the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, this take on the song offers an arrangement that is just as energetic as its predecessor. At the same time, though, there are obviously some elements added to GE’s version not included in the original tune. Even with that in mind, it is still an interesting addition to the album. ‘Love Pledge and The Arena’ is yet another example of the importance of the arrangements presented here. Unlike the original song, this version opens with the arena and never even addresses the Love Theme movement. Rather, it sticks solely to The Arena. Considering this, it is somewhat mis-titled. Even keeping this in mind though, the band does a respectable job of reproducing the energy exhibited in its source material, even if the softer side of the movement is missing. One could prattle on from here. Suffice it to say that comparing the arrangements of these songs to their source material overall, the arrangements are still an interesting and important part of the compilation’s whole that don’t disappoint. Considering this along with the songs themselves, the two elements do plenty to make this compilation another enjoyable collection for any truly devoted Star Wars fan. Of course, even as important as they are to the album’s whole, they are not its only important elements. The record’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation.
Episode II’s sequencing is critical to its presentation because it does just as much as the songs and their arrangements to keep listeners engaged. From start to end, the album keeps its energy up thanks to the thought and effort put into its sequencing. From the high-energy opener that is ‘March of the Resistance’ to the tense energy of ‘Hyperspace’ to the authoritative energy of ‘The Droid Invasion and Appearance of Darth Maul’ and beyond, the album’s energy never lets up too much at any given point. That’s the case even as Rey is first introduced to audiences in ‘Rey’s Theme’ from The Force Awakens. There’s a certain tense energy there, too, that is certain to keep listeners engaged thanks to the band’s take on the song. Of course, the death metal approach of ‘The Emperor’ is more proof of the album’s continued energy. Even if one isn’t a Star Wars devotee, this one will certainly have one’s head banging like the purest, black and death metal fan. Even as the album comes to a close with its djent style riffs at the end of ‘The Battle of Yavin,’ it still doesn’t let up, only allowing the album to let off in its final few seconds. Keeping this in mind, it should be clear just how much thought and effort was put into assembling Episode II’s sequence. That thought and effort, Star Wars fans will agree, paid off just as much as the effort put into assembling the songs’ arrangements and picking the songs themselves. Keeping all of this in mind, all three elements in whole prove to make Episode II another fan favorite among any Star Wars fan.
Galactic Empire’s sophomore album, aptly titled Episode II in tribute to the Star Wars franchise’s history, is another entry from the musical cosplay collective that is certain to impress the most devoted Star Wars fan. That is evidenced in part through the songs selected for the record. They cover a healthy amount of the Star Wars franchise. The arrangements largely stay true to their source material while giving each original an interestingly amped up new take. The sequencing of the whole puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation. Each element is important in its own way in showing why this 11-song record will impress Star Wars purists. All things considered, they make Episode II a record that those purists will happily add to their music libraries. It is available now in stores and online courtesy of Rise Records. More information on Episode II is available now along with all of Galactic Empire’s latest news and more at:
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