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Biography

Yet another in the long line of Hard Rock projects to use the well worn EMPIRE tag over the years. This 2001 alliance was motivated by VANIZE guitarist and solo artist Rolf Munkes. The six-stringer could call on some heavyweight back for the debut album 'Hypnotica' including erstwhile WHITESNAKE, BLACK SABBATH and then COMPANY OF SNAKES bassist Neil Murray, BALANCE OF POWER vocalist Lance King and erstwhile FALLACY drummer Gerald Kloos.

Both Munkes and Kloos had been members of earlier acts STATIC IMAGE and HOLEY WOOD. The drummer had also contributed to Munkes 1998 solo record 'No More Obscurity'. Joining in on a session basis with EMPIRE were the esteemed ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN frontman MARK BOALS, the veteran former OZZY OSBOURNE and RAINBOW keyboard maestro DON AIREY and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and HAMMERFALL sticksman Anders Johansson.

A follow up 2003 album 'Trading Souls' saw TONY MARTIN of BLACK SABBATH taking on all lead vocals. Neil Murray would reprise his role on bass once more whilst DON AIREY of DEEP PURPLE delivered keyboards. Besides Gerald Kloos and Stefan Andersson the figure of Stefan Kaufmann of ACCEPT and U.D.O. repute took on additional drum responsibilities.

Munkes would increase his activities during 2003, joining "true" Heavy Metal band MAJESTY for their 'Reign Of Glory' album as well as founding a new venture dubbed RAZORBACK. This latter formation was a During mid 2003 the industrious guitarist Rolf Munkes, having credits with EMPIRE, VANIZE and MAJESTY, founded a fresh side project collaboration with former COMPANY OF SNAKES vocalist Stefan Berggren, ex-SHYLOCK guitarist Chris Heun and the erstwhile VANIZE rhythm section of bassist Marcus Bielenberg and drummer Pierre Fienhold.

2005 album sessions for a third opus, dubbed 'The Raven Ride', once again included TONY MARTIN on vocals, Neil Murray on bass with the AXXIS, SILENT FORCE and RAZORBACK credited Andre Hilgers on drums. Rolf Munkes joined the TONY MARTIN band for Russian concerts in November 2006.

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