Naked Empire

Bottom Feeders (n / a)

Texas Platters

Naked Empire

Bottom Feeders

Local quintet Naked Empire turns prog rock on its ear on its first LP, inadvertently revealing that prog was perhaps better off upright. The band plays well, especially guitarist John Stecker and drummer Peter Elko, but it doesn't deliver many technical fireworks, instead slamming through simple, loud, midtempo songs that sound something like alt-rock run through a Dream Theater filter. As for singer Dustin Maxey, his nasal voice can be taken or left based on taste, but he does employ an unusual strategy for cribbing lyrical content from fantasy novels. Where most make use of dragons and magic, Maxey opts for the parts about objectivist personal struggle. It's unconventional, sure, but it's just as overwrought and silly, making Bottom Feeders an overserious piano-and-hard-rock album.

**

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