Making the galaxy far, far away a much louder place.
Have you ever listened to John Williams iconic Star Wars score and thought to yourself, “This is dope, but it needs it more METAL.” I’m going to hazard a guess and say most of you haven’t thought that or even used the word “dope” in your vocabulary before. I was the same way until I heard Galactic Empire for the first time. Now I can’t imagine a world without Star Wars metal and trendy superlatives to describe its magic — it’s right up there with disco in terms of excellent musical tributes to the saga.
Galactic Empire was formed in 2015 and they’ve been shredding their way through the galaxy ever since. The band is made up of Darth Vader (lead guitar), Boba Sett (drums), Bass Commander (bass), Shadow Ranger (guitar), and Red Guard (guitar). If we hadn’t already witnessed Vader and his minions being defeated in the original trilogy, I’d say that was an unstoppable line-up.
In an ideal world, though, Vader would still be alive and he’d have his own metal band with like-minded pals. Sometimes I like to pretend that Galactic Empire is what the real Vader, Fett, and co. got up to in their spare time whenever they weren’t battling the Rebel Alliance and enforcing the Empire’s tyrannical rule. It’s good to have hobbies to take your mind off work, after all — plus, if any style of music is befitting of the Dark Side of life, it’s metal.
Galactic Empire is out of this world in many ways, but you might be surprised to know that the band is the brainchild of fellow earthlings — and music producers — Carson James Slovak (Bass Commander) and Grant McFarland (Boba Sett). As producers, they’ve worked alongside a number of popular rock and metal artists, including August Burns Red and All That Remains. Loud music aficionados might also be familiar with McFarland’s other band This or the Apocalypse. Initially, Galactic Empire started off as a bit of fun when McFarland recruited some musicians to remix “The Imperial March.” The project became something so much more after that, however, and earlier this year they released their self-titled debut album on Rise Records.
Much like the Empire’s command over the galaxy, the band’s music is impressive and should be celebrated rather than opposed. While many ‘nerd’ and pop culture-themed musical acts are often written off as gimmicks, Galactic Empire transcends their image by delivering when it comes to the actual tunes themselves. The original compositions have been carefully reconstructed and fully represented as we already know and love them, albeit in a new iteration in the form of complex, technical metal. It’s only been a few months since the release of their album, but the record holds up as a strong body of work as opposed to something that’s fun for a couple of days. Okilly Dokilly, this is not.
Check out their cover of the ‘jizz’ classic “Cantina Band” by Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. The updated version still retains the original’s jaunty tunefulness, but here we get some headbanging, mosh pit flavor to complement it. It’s the best of both worlds if you like to boogie and make the devil-horned salute.
Other stand out tracks include their shred-tastic covers of the “Main Theme” and “Duel of the Fates.” But those are just my personal favorites and you might prefer other jams depending on your own favorite Williams numbers. If you’re a Star Wars fan who appreciates music that leans towards the heavier side of the spectrum, you’ll probably find a lot to admire and appreciate about Galactic Empire. But good music is good music, and that can still be enjoyed even if Stormtroopers aren’t your idea of entertainment.
Still, the band do embrace their gimmick and encourage fans to do the same by showing up to their concerts clad in their favorite Star Wars-themed cosplay. What’s not to love about that? Just don’t go dressed as the good guys — embrace the Dark Side and live it up a little.