After ten years together, Custom Built Empire (CBE) has finally released a record (literally), and while the album title Mission Statement is certainly appropriate for an 8-song EP, a more appropriate title might be “Finally Grows Up.” For while ten years is a long time to make your music available to the masses, CBE has finally put together a great sounding record that encompasses everything they love: delivering crunchy rock for however long they damn well please.
CBE falls squarely in the genre of “thinking man’s rock,” reveling in odd time signatures and extended song lengths familiar to fans of Tool and Mastadon. The dual guitar attack build solid walls on which to stack interesting melodies with lyrics about unusual people and their bad habits (my favorite song, “Robi,“ is about a crippling Robitussen addiction – bet you haven’t heard a song about that before). But the key appeal of CBE is the bass and drums; for fans of rocking rhythm section, CBE is not to be missed.
Songs like Flutter, Relentless, and Waking Sleep highlight incredible bass/drums interplay that is thoughtful, powerful and locked-in like the best of them. If your favorite part Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Mastadon or any other complicated hard rock band is the rhythm section; if you are, like me, always in search of a bass/drums combo that “gets it” by providing unique and challenging grooves; if you’re looking for a rocking San Francisco band to support (when they play their annual gig) – then CBE is a great addition to your music collection.
In the final analysis, the record sounds great all around, and is meant to be turned up. The Hit Wall Studio recording has a great professional sound that does not disappoint. That matched with a band that finally delivers the goods it has been promising for ten years means that Mission Statement is definitely worth the investment. Pick it up, turn it up, rock out.