Empress is an American metal quintet with a love of weaving grand tales over catchy and triumphant symphonic soundscapes.
Formed in Philadelphia in late 2018, the band was born from the desire to craft elegant, yet hard-hitting and epic progressive power metal in the vein of bands such as Symphony X and Kamelot. Beginning initially as a jam project between guitarist and composer Vlad Khavin, drummer Mark Stainthorpe, and guitarist Joseph Muir, the trio went on to audition various singers of different styles, though none suited the sound they were trying to achieve. After finding vocalist Barbara Blackthorne online and inviting her for a live audition, the group were impressed with the power and dynamic range she brought to the table and unanimously offered her the position of lead vocalist that very night. Just a week later, bassist Nick Bonsanto was brought into the line-up and upon completion, the group took the name of Empress. The group agreed that this name would better represent the strong, female-driven power that they now aimed to display.
During the band’s first year, they released three singles along with a music video for one, “Beyond the Sleep”, which garnered them attention throughout the international female-fronted metal community and created widespread interest in the budding band. Sjak Roks of Dutch metal publication Arrow Lords of Metal proclaimed: “If you like uncompromising US power metal with great guitar work and great vocals, you should check out the new American band Empress […] Based on these three songs I am convinced that Empress can make the step to the premier league of metal effortlessly.”
As the year went on, they were named Castle Blakk Radio’s Artist of the Month for July of 2019, and had the pleasure of playing with bands such as Janet Gardner, Seven Spires, Grim Reaper, A Sound of Thunder, Master Sword, and capping off the year with a successful hometown co-headlining show. Unfortunately, just as they were getting started, the band’s aspirations for 2020 and 2021 were brought to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this did not discourage them, and instead they poured this time and energy into writing and recording their debut album, titled “Fateweaver”.
With their future ahead of them, Empress is determined to conquer this new chapter and properly introduce themselves to the world with "Fateweaver". This 9-song debut from the band showcases their unique take on symphonic metal while they effortlessly transition between a variety of powerful tunes. As they navigate the overarching theme of destiny through the tales of the individual characters on each song, the album asks: “Are you bound by fate, or bound to control it?”. “Fateweaver” is set to be a memorable debut in the genre from a band who, when obstacles arose, decided to persevere and weave a fate of their very own.