Thursday 11 April 2019

Sweet Empire - A New Cycle

Labels: Shield Recordings/Umlaut Records/Bad Wolf Records/North Empire Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 01 Apr 2019


 1. Drones
2. Thoughts And Prayers
3. Grand Denial
4. V.K.T
5. Remains
6. Lucy
7. The Hunter
8. iHermanos!
9. Please Stay
10. Hidden Voices
11. Nihilist Nation

Honorary citizens of this little Yorkshire town (Harrogate) Sweet Empire are back with a new record, their third full-length "A New Cycle". The Dutch quartet has teamed up with Bad Wolf Records (France), North Empire Records (The Netherlands), Shield Recordings (Benelux: Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) and Umlaut Records (United Kingdom) to release it on vinyl, CD as well as releasing it digitally. Despite my Internet connection being terrible for some reason, I'm going to attempt to get this review out to you.

Memories of watching Sweet Empire is small, crowded rooms in Harrogate are flooding back as I press play on “A New Cycle”. Drones begins the record in the best way, with Sweet Empire’s melodic punk ringing out. Their songs of resistance and upbeat music has always been a big draw and this is so much fun. Thoughts And Prayers bolsters that with plenty of sing-along moments and no complicated song structures or pretence. 

They’ve never been about long songs and that’s good, because it means that every one sticks in your head. Grand Denial is a prime example and it’s feel good factor is obvious. Alongside Antillectual, they’re the best punks in The Netherlands. That may be bold of me to say but I stand by it. Like Grand Denial, V.K.T is another urgent blast except this time it’s joined by added hardcore vox that adds aggression.

It’s back to the hummable, danceable punk on Remains. Sweet Empire don’t bother to solely ape the pop-punk big bands or whatever’s fashionable in punk. They play what they want and in doing so are worth way more, as Lucy proves. Their socially conscious lyrics provide an important message amongst the backdrop of melodic punk.

I definitely remember them being rawer than this live, but maybe I was just more inebriated than I thought at the time! Either way, I’d love to see them play The Hunter live as it’s full of energy. iHermanos! is the gang-like protest song that will probably get the biggest cheer though, as it talks of camaraderie and standing up to injustice.

Please Stay
is a political anthem akin to those of Strike Anywhere and it’s brilliant. The riffs really stand out on penultimate song Hidden Voices, yet more catchy guitar work and vocals that help to make this album so good. In fact, all of the instrumentation (and the production/mixing/mastering) brings it to life with a sound that’s clear and so alive. Album closer Nihilist Nation rounds it out with a party vibe that’s the backbone of Sweet Empire. No complications and no reason to ignore this. Sweet Empire does it again. Now, come back to the ‘gate!

You can stream "A New Cycle" via Sweet Empire's Bandcamp page below, where it's available to buy on all formats:-

You can also grab the LB/CD from the links below:-

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