For Fans Of
The Senate’s recent debut release was easily one of the best surprise drops of 2017 for me. Not to be confused with the Seattle acoustic-rock band of the same name, from out of nowhere came this monolithic beast of a record from ex-A Night In Texas/Semper Fi frontman Rheese Peters and ex-Semper Fi skin hitter Raymond Martin. Now, this new endeavour isn’t at all a far stretch from the pair’s previous bands but my lord does it raise the bar!
Opening with the absolute rager that is ‘For The Glory Of The Empire’, the duo incorporates the instantly recognisable theme song from Star Wars and turns it into a down-tuned, frenetic and guttural masterpiece. Right off the bat, this lets you know that these guys are not, in any sense of the imagination, fucking around. They’ve gone the full nine yards with this (sick) gimmick and then some. Next up is the pummelling ‘Who Shot First‘, a track that feels like it truly captures the ferocity of die-hard fans stuck in *that* age-old argument that defines the very title of the track itself. Take note of the bridge in this song, taking yet another instantly recognisable piece of music from the films themselves referred to as the “Cantina Scene”, which features a nifty little bass line before closing out the track in pure slam territory with one ferocious breakdown that’d crush any and all rebel scum.
Now, we get to some of the meatier sides of things in terms of songwriting and dynamics. ‘Secrets Of The Sensual Holograms‘ opens with a hilarious little monologue informing the listener that they’re in for a song about dicks where parental guidance is recommended. And the riffs, my lord Vader, the riffs here! Tasty is a fucking understatement. This particular song also features sounds that one can only attribute to choking on the songs subject manner. I cannot tell you why this works, just trust me that it does. ‘I Thought They Smelt Bad On The Outside’ is not only a cool little reference to a cold, snowy scene we all remember fondly but is also a riff-heavy beast that borders on pure dissonant chaos utilising some great guitar sweeping that would make Emmure’s Josh Travis blush with envy.
From there, we come to the only part that I wasn’t the biggest fan of, an interlude titled ‘Mausoleum Of Heroes’. It’s a track that feels somewhat unnecessary overall and it didn’t really add anything to the overall experience; not in terms of comedic value nor extreme musical brutality. Keep in mind it is only an interlude so this is a very small gripe from what is a sensational heavy release.
Following ‘Mausoleum…’ is a track that upon release had the heavier side of the Internet in a real galactic storm. Enter ‘The Bloated One’ (pun intended). A musical firestorm about everyone’s favourite slug, lovingly referred to as “Jabba the cuck“, this is a song that exercises the seasoned writing and performance chops from this Aussie duo. If you aren’t banging your head by the end of this track then not even Obi-Wan can restore hope for you. ‘Swallowed By The Sarlacc’ opens with one of the most piercing riffs I’ve heard since The Black Dahlia Murder dropped ‘Nightbringers’, which is mighty high praise indeed. Featuring a nice little section towards the tail end of the track that gives the song a bit of breathing room with a strong atmospheric vibe – almost arching back to The Faceless’ ‘Planetary Duality’ (read: their best era) – before the band decimate everything in their path with a brutal climax. Closing out this blissfully brutal listening experience is the final track ‘Daddy Issues’. A song that’s just under the two-minute mark and features another twist on the classic Empire theme, ending this record with a side to side section leading into a star destroying, bone shattering breakdown that even the most dastardly evil Sith lord would be proud of.
As one would expect from the genre, the performances chops on this record are not to be messed with. Peters has some real skills and can pull some sounds that for me personally would place him as one of the greatest extreme vocalists this country has to offer. Tom Cadden has also nailed the engineering & production duties as well, giving The Senate the best, most polished platform to spread their message of Star Wars love and heavy riffs. Taking on the writing and composing duties as a whole is no easy task, especially for an album with this much ferocity yet Martin has done an absolutely stellar job here. From transposing the existing Star Wars material in a fitting, heavy-hitting style to composing some complex and downright bizarre (but in the best possible way) sections, the band’s instrumentation here puts them in the ranks of the best of the deathcore pack.
Performed at breakneck speeds with almost mechanical precision, The Senate’s debut full-length hits harder than almost anything you’ll hear this year. It’s a perfect meld of a much-loved film universe and glorious extreme metal. If what Galactic Empire released earlier this year wasn’t a heavy enough rendition of the Star Wars universe for you, than search no more, for The Senate have you covered!
1. For The Glory Of The Empire
2. Who Shot First
3. Secrets Of The Sensual Holograms
4. I Thought They Smelt Bad On The Outside
5. Mausoleum Of Heroes
6. The Bloated One
7. Swallowed By The Sarlacc
8. Daddy Issues
The Senate’s debut album is out now. Stream it in full below. [Full disclosure: Rheese is actually a friend of mine and has been since around 2011. This didn’t influence my opinion on his new band’s album in any way, shape or form – just wanted to make that clear.]