By Emily J Kaufman

The city of San Francisco is known for windy streets, pride parades, and its inspiring art. New to the golden gate city’s music scene is Seeking Empire, a four-piece rock band that’s taking the area by storm. Seeking Empire’s most notable member is Paul Thomas, whom you may recognize from his years of playing bass in Good Charlotte. On November 1st, 2011 Seeking Empire released their self-titled debut written and produced by Thomas, giving the average GC fan something different and exciting to enjoy.

The EP opens with “Fairytale,” and instantly the listener knows there won’t be any sight of the Madden brothers as female vocalist Nikki Aclaro can surely hold her own. A former member of the band Mud, Aclaro shows off her fine-tuned vocals on this opening track. With vocal tones similar to Amy Lee of Evanescence, this first track gears the listener up for what’s to come from the album.

Broken” is a powerful track about the demise of a relationship. The listener has the privilege of playing Aclaro’s lover as she sings the chorus,  “breakdown/it’s what’s best for us/you’re so shallow/so am I/we breakdown/let it be dust to dust/ we can’t salvage/it has died.” The strong vocals help persuade the listener to agree that the relationship was toxic, but will still leave them singing along.

The third track on the album “Liar Liar” picks up the pace from the first drum kick. The song opens with Aclaro having just found out her lover wasn’t who she once thought and follows her as she decides to leave. The intensity of the chorus “hey you/you’re driving me mad/my heart is spilt on the floor/cause we could never be/what I want and what I don’t have/won’t lie to myself anymore” progresses with each verse as Aclaro becomes more assured of herself. “Liar Liar” could easily become the anthem for walking away from a changed relationship.

The first single off the album, “Caving In” slows the album down for the first time since pressing play. The track tells the tale of a love collapsing, from secrets kept and lies told. “Your mask is starting to fall/the devil revealed” Aclaro sings to her lover as she calls them out on secrets of infidelity and deceit. The chorus, “this house is caving in/and my brain is sure to follow” is filled with emotion as the listener can feel Aclaro breaking down and caving in.

Following “Caving In” comes another ballad-like tune, “Remember the End.” The listener is in for a surprise as the song starts out soft and solemn, but quickly picks up for the chorus. Roaring guitars and pounding drums accompany Aclaro’s strong voice as it soars through the speakers, only to transition back to a low-key verse. The song escalates with feeling and power following the second chorus and picks up until the conclusion of the track.

The EP closes with “Deliver Us”, by far the heaviest song on the album. Mixing hard rock roots with Aclaro’s well-trained vocals, this track could very well be Seeking Empire’s next single. The use of gang vocals in the chorus adds an unexpected, yet enjoyable touch to the song that the listener is sure to appreciate.  By the end of the track the listener will not be able to help but belt along with Aclaro as the song builds up to a perfect resolution and closes out with double bass drums.

Paul Thomas has greatly demonstrated his ability as a writer, producer, and performer with Seeking Empire. The self-titled EP covers a wide range of music with only six songs, a feat deserving of recognition. As a fan of Good Charlotte for many years, I was intrigued to listen to the album and find what was in store, and Thomas did not disappoint. While the band is a side project, I surely hope to see more of Seeking Empire in the near future. Check out the album, currently streaming on the band’s Facebook and keep an eye out for tour dates.

Rating: 7/10

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Record Label: Unsigned

Recommended Tracks: “Broken” “Caving In” “Deliver Us”

For Fans Of: Evanescence, Paramore, Halestorm

Purchase On iTunes

For more information on Seeking Empire please visit their official siteFacebook and Twitter.