Aside from Queensryche and Rage Against the Machine, there aren't many politically conscious metal bands left nowadays, but Course of Empire may be the leaders of a resurgence. Their latest release, Telepathic Last Words, is a throwback of sorts to past Queensryche classics like Operation Mindcrime and Empire, yet C.O.E. updates the approach and sound (samples, Middle Eastern melodies, etc.). Almost all of the album's tracks have a specific lyrical message, such as "Automatic Writing #17" and "Houdini's Blind," which both deal with the media's negative focus. And although the band always keeps heavy metal as its musical foundation, they're not afraid to experiment. "The Information" is straight-ahead metal with a dance beat, while "Ride the Static" does creates waves of dreamy sonic textures. The album's highlight may very well be "Persian Song," due to its irresistible guitar hook and loud/quiet/loud song structure. Since it took them so long to follow up Initiation, some thought the band had broken up. But with Telepathic Last Words, Course of Empire will be able to silence the rumors once and for all, offering their best album to date.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato