ALBUM REVIEW: Galactic Empire – Special Edition


Formed in a seedy Pennsylvanian cantina in 2015, the rise of Star Wars obsessionists Galactic Empire has been noticeable even to those not blessed with force sensitivity. What began as a bit of fun jamming with Ortolans and Pa’lowicks has quickly led to world tours, videos with millions of views, and seen more costume changes than a shopping trip with Princess Leia and Padmé Amidala.


Although remaining firmly behind shiny helmets and facial coverings, the band’s trademark outfits have gradually evolved from faithful cosplay to something more lightweight and practical (as well as probably attempting to avert any unwanted imperial legal entanglements). From Royal Guards, stormtroopers, and Darth Vader himself to space cowboys and hooded menaces, only drummer Grant McFarland (aka Blastbeat) still bears any passing similarity to his Mandalorian origins. Lead guitarists Erik Ryde (aka Lord Sikh) and Cotter Champlain (aka the amusingly named Darth Brooks), rhythm guitarist Brett Anspach (aka Doomriff), and bassist Carson Slovak (aka OD-66) make up the rest of the band, the quintet sounding better than ever on third full-length studio release Special Edition (Pure Noise Records).


This latest selection of Max Rebo-approved Star Wars themes and musical mutations opens with the traditional ’20th Century Fox Fanfare’, a lively Brian May-esque way to get the Midichlorians racing before hitting hyperspace with ‘Star Wars and Revenge of the Sith’. A seven-and-a-half-minute staccato riff Bantha not a million miles away from the Devin Townsend system and crammed with short stabs of lead guitar built on the title credits and opening scene of the final movie in George Lucas‘s prequel trilogy.


The Sith takes revenge with militaristic efficiency on ‘The Imperial Suite’ and the thrilling ‘Dark Side Assault’ before the album rescues Grogu and battles Moff Gideon with a magnificent rendition of ‘The Mandalorian’. The dramatic title music to ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is followed by the animated adventure-seeking ‘Bad Batch Theme’, a triumphant piece of space metal guaranteed to launch a rebellion against Order-66.



The slow burn of ‘The Book Of Boba Fett’ sounds like an epic cross between Queen, Steve StevensTop Gun anthem, and the theme music to The Princess Bride. ‘Attack Position’ opens with a doomy death metal riff before locking S-Foils for a strike run at the Death Star while it’s time to lock up the Tauntauns and break out the snowspeeders for the lumbering AT-AT menace of ‘The Battle of Hoth’. Completing the mission is the anthemic ‘Victory Celebration’, an uplifting adaptation of the final piece of music used in the 1997 re-release of Return of the Jedi. Clearly, the band haven’t managed to round up enough Ewoks for a version of the movie’s original “Yub Nub” finale. Yet.


As before, this latest record is a purely instrumental, prog/power metal affair with only a brief “hey, hey!” section during ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ to remind you that humans still remain at the heart of the old Empire. Another expertly performed homage to the Star Wars universe, Special Edition will be sure to satisfy fans of both worlds. In fact, the only disappointment here is the release date being May 5th and not May The 4th (be with you).


We were on the verge of greatness. We were this close.


Buy the album you must, at the link here you will click:


8 / 10