New Album Review

Citizens of the Empire self-released debut politically charged

88.1 WKNC’s Pick of the Week 9/10

written by Sarah Hager, WKNC DJ

As I opened Citizen of the Empire’s self-titled and self-released debut, the CD insert caught my attention. Where the copyright information should be, I read, “No Rights Reserved.”

“We prefer to make our lives a work of art as opposed to ‘making a living’ from our art. Reproduce and distribute in any form by any means. Share with your friends and enemies alike.” I will say, after listening, I’ll be sure to do just that. The seven-track album starts off with a slow, ethereal guitar riff with subtle crash symbols. This track, entitled “Insurrection is Our only Weapon against the Machine of Alienation,” is a perfect way to get the listener ready for the remainder of the album. Citizens of the Empire seems to be a very politically-oriented band, giving links to Zeitgeist, among other online movies, as well as titling the tracks according to their views. I immediately realized I would get a fuller experience if I turned the music up and let it replace all other things I was thinking of. Closing my eyes, it was easy to lose myself in the music. The fourth track, “Power is not to Be Conquered, It is to Be Destroyed” is by far the strongest. It’s immediately up-tempo and forceful. Continuous riffs throughout make it fun and interesting for the duration of its six-minute length. “Everything We Possess will in turn Possess Us” is another example of exciting riffs, but this time sprinkled over the seven-minute track contributes to such a full-sounding post-rock song. The ending song, “We Pay for Our Lives with Our Deaths,” is a strong finish to the album. Its intricate guitar is weaved into enough vice that when the song finishes, all you want is more. I was surprised to learn Citizens only consists of three members—Andrew Carson playing drums, Patrick Seawell on bass, and Jacob West shredding guitar. This three-piece is from Minneapolis, MN. Citizens fits in perfectly with bands such as Mogwai, God is an Astronaut and Explosions in the Sky. While your mind won’t be blown to pieces, it will be fully satisfied by the instrumental rock laid out for listening pleasure.

“88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at and”