Invisible Empire

1. Breed
2. Fool
3. Crossfade
4. Slow Death
5. Firebrand
6. Gas Station Roses
7. Tomorrow`s Today
8. Saving It Up
9. Loosily Bound
10. Lost
11. Hollow Mirror
12. Rebirth

Mark Sunshine - vocals
Garret Sweeney - guitars
Jim Baglino - bass
Bob Pantella - drums

Sweet Kaos (2008)


Produced by Bob Pantella
Recorded and mixed at Atomic Studios - Keyport New Jeresy
Mastered at Hong Kong Wire Sound
Digipak artwork by Riotgod
Photography by Kevin Hodapp, Rockframe Photography and Mark Sunshine

Released 21/10-2011
Reviewed 6/10-2011


I guess the big talking point considering this band and their second album will probably be the connection to stoner rock (which is also the musical label of Riotgod) giants Monster Magnet which is the main band of two of the members in Riotgod, the third of the four is also touring with Monster Magnet so all but the apparently happy singer is connected to said band. I had of course not done this connection as I do not read the info sheet before I am sitting down to write the review of the album which of course happens after I have heard it around ten times.

As I was already stating before, Invisible Empire is the second album of Riotgod and thanks to the great label Metalville we were given a complete CD-package in which I could find more info to fill up our info section, that was as soon as I managed to bread through the burglar proof plastic cover that was covering the digipak CD. In the very slim booklet I found out that the producer was drummer Bob Pantella which was not stated anywhere in the promotional information, it also said that the band were responsible for the digipak artwork themselves and I think it looks good enough, so well done on that.

The music is marketed as stoner rock which I can agree with in part, but I would more say that it sounds like classical rock music of the late seventies or so. The vocals are classic rock vocals with intensity and I think the singer Mark Sunshine reminds me very much of Tesla’s Jeff Keith in his singing style but I can think of some other classical rock vocalists that I come to think of, if I didn’t have a big disliking towards mentioning lots of names in my reviews. I think the band has a very good production adding a sort of authenticity to the songs. The album has twelve tracks spanning from breed to rebirth and that is a journey that will take you just less than the hour to complete.

This album opens with a track called Breed which is an excellent straight to the point, classical rock song with tons of energy and a feel of having aged well since being recorded in the late seventies, it is a brilliant song. But then, then it sort of dies off and becomes quite regular stoner rock albeit with a slight personal touch but still quite ordinary. This goes on all the way to track eight which is called Saving it Up and at that moment the album takes off for real as the following tracks all hold a much higher standard than the ones in the earlier going. The ending track Rebirth is a classical style rock song that remind me of bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow or Led Zeppelin for you who like band references (don’t they just make a reviewer looks so wise and knowledgeable?).

There are four tracks that are real standouts for me on this album, opening Breed is great, Saving it up is the best on the album and really great, Loosily Bound is another great song along with ending Rebirth. The tracks following the opening track are good but they do not grab me, or speak to me in any way and feel a bit like wasted space to be honest. I think they could safely dump four or five tracks and we would be left with a much better album, not sex good to excellent tracks and six tracks of filling material like gravel or concrete.

I would like to introduce the band to some good phrases I know “kill your darlings” and “less is more” which all mean that it is more often than not good to actually murder some of the darlings to make the album more compact and by that making it interesting all way through, that is something I think this band would have benefitted greatly from when it comes to this album, it is too long.

I the end though I would say that if I delete five of the tracks from my playlist, say track two to six, I will have a great hard rocking album with energy and class. Now I have an album that is partly that and partly as fun as concrete drying. That makes the conclusion that Riotgod’s Invisible Empire, which is more or less the same name as Scar Symmetry’s latest album, is a rather good album that could have been so much better. They would have easily gotten away with several murders.


Label: Metalville/Flying Dolphin Entertainment
Three similar bands: Tesla/Monster Magnet/Psycho Daisy
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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