When you’re making music that’s nostalgic to a certain era, it may be difficult to balance being nostalgic and putting in fresh new elements that keep your listeners hooked. On their second single, “Culture Shock”, US-based Alternative Rock prodigies Empire tell us how those who take their own special path in life and make their own rules are ridiculed by the rest of society…but at the same time, it’s a reassurance letter to those put in that situation. As a metalhead and a person who walks their own path, the song spoke to me on so many levels.

While the theme is not new and it recurs with a lot of rock and metal artists, what I felt here with Empire was a truly authentic message. You could feel that this song was born out of a jam session by some angsty teenagers who wanted to express their rage and resentment towards society…and that raw and authentic feeling shows in the production of the music and the overall feel of the track.

The verses of the song have a strong and groovy rhythm and a strong vocal line that’s compelling and feels so raw. Near the end of the verse and the start of the chorus, the vocals pick up some pace and become distorted and more gritty. One of the coolest sections of the song is definitely the solos that are done with some wah pedals…it’s like time stopped and the emotions were concentrated at that part and I got real goosebumps while listening to it. After that, we get one more chorus and then a heavy and chuggy guitar outro ends the song on a (literal) high note. All I can say after listening to this masterpiece is that rock and metal are alive and well, and with enthusiastic bands like Empire around, they always will be.