Nick Ward – Bass
Frazer Maxwell Knight – Drums
Sid Thindal – Guitar
Al Rhodes – Vocals
01. Faire Let Mort
02. Under The Skin
04. See You Again
06. Mickey Finn
07. Hand On Heart
09. Whiskey And Pills
Emperors Of The Wasteland were formed in 2016 by Al Rhodes, Frazer Knight and Sid Thindal. By their own account, they bring a “unique sound, based around big riffs, catchy melodies and soul-crushing lyrics.” In their relatively brief career, they have chalked up some impressive support slots. Twice, they have played support to LA legend and Love/Hate frontman, Jizzy Pearl as part of his UK tour schedule and have also shared a stage with Faster Pussycat, Knock out Kaine and Doomsday Outlaw.
This collection of nine songs makes up their debut album. Entirely self released, Emperors Of The Wasteland carry themselves with the spirit of a band who are clearly up to the task of pushing themselves out there to build their reputation under their own motivation.
With this in mind, and after a brief, atmospheric refrain on a toy piano, Faire Let Mort stomps in with a sure-footed confidence that indicates Emperors of the Wasteland are here to make a significant mark.
Sonically, Emperors Of The Wasteland occupy that space where Hard Rock meets Grunge. Anyone with a liking for heavy guitar music is likely to be reminded of a golden age where the sound of a Gibson guitar cranked through a Marshall amp dominated the UK Rock scene. The album has a thick guitar tone and some solid, hard-hitting drums that underpin Al Rhodes melodic vocals. His voice reminds me of something like a cross between Ian Astbury and Biff Byford, both formidable frontmen in classic bands, which is a credit to Emperors Of The Wasteland, who have largely succeeded to capture their arena-sized aspirations on their debut disc.
Under The Skin throbs with a driving riff, peppered with squealing harmonics, while Zodiac swaps soaring, lighters-aloft moments with a Zeppelin-esque swagger. See You Again has been highlighted as the first single. It once again evokes the Cult and features some tasty fretwork courtesy of Sid Thindal, who steps up to shine on this one.
The centrepiece of Begin is the song from which the album took its name, and is built around a darkened, bluesy riff that shows the Emperors at their most brooding. It has an ominous, driving lilt that is a complete contrast to the upbeat, Mickey Finn, which is much more suited to pulling on your denim and leathers and looking for a whiskey bar with a great jukebox.
This mood continues into Hand On Heart and Burn, which both do a respectable job of holding down a gritty rock & roll atmosphere worthy of raising a glass to.
While I don’t think Emperors Of The Wasteland are entirely accurate to say they are offering something “unique,” what they do give us is delivered with an appealing level of sincerity and enthusiasm which is carried through to their final track, Whiskey and Pills. This song is a good summary of the world that Emperors Of The Wasteland appear to subscribe to. One where having bourbon for breakfast sets the tone of the day… A day that no doubt ends in the early hours with a triumphant show and a few shots to take the edge off their worldly cynicism.
This is rock & roll.
Review By: Beandog