GALAHAD — Empires Never Last (review)

GALAHAD — Empires Never Last album cover Album · 2007 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Warthur
Some bands, like Marillion or King Crimson, burst onto the scene with a high-quality debut album which shows them having already ironed out the wrinkes on their sound and at the top of their game. Other bands, like Yes or Van der Graaf Generator, might let a lesser album or two slip out before it all comes together and they finally put out an album which represents a creative breakthrough for them (such as The Yes Album or The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other). Some bands are mere also-rans who put out a few OK-ish albums but either break up before putting out something truly brilliant or prove in the long term to just not have it in them to produce something really earth-shaking.

But I don't think I'm aware of any bands who've had quite the career trajectory that Galahad have had. For well over a decade, Galahad put out music which at its best was alright but not exactly essential neo-prog, and at its worst was a tediously derivative waste of time. Then, all of a sudden, it all comes together for them around fifteen years after their debut album! Perhaps they just needed the right inspiration - Empires Never Last is clearly motivated by the band members' disquiet about the direction of the War on Terror (the GWB quote cropping up here and there should convince even the most sceptical on that point) - but either way, they've put out a fascinating neo piece which combined melodic rock with some harder-edged passages. Frontman Stuart Nicholson might not be the most characterful vocalist, but what he lacks in personality or distinctiveness he makes up for in anger and other heartfelt emotions.

It's not perfect - This Life Could Be My Last outstays its welcome a little bit - but it's a far better album than I ever expected to get from Galahad, so bravo to them.
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