Holy Roman Empire - The Longue Durée (Cover Artwork)

Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire: The Longue DuréeThe Longue Durée (2007)
Hewhocorrupts, Inc.

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

With members laying claim to previous outfits like Rise Against, the Hope Conspiracy, Shai Hulud, the Killing Tree and Arma Angelus, Holy Roman Empire is literal post-hardcore. What's convenient about this is that, aside from the soaring vocals of frontwoman Emily Schambra (ex-Longdistancerunner her.

With members laying claim to previous outfits like Rise Against, the Hope Conspiracy, Shai Hulud, the Killing Tree and Arma Angelus, Holy Roman Empire is literal post-hardcore. What's convenient about this is that, aside from the soaring vocals of frontwoman Emily Schambra (ex-Longdistancerunner herself), Holy Roman Empire comes off like the modern day Texas Is the Reason -- big hooks, gigantic guitars and an emotional resonance wrapped in a modest delivery and pristine production.

Obviously, Schambra is meant to be one of the highlights, and while she's certainly got an alluring, impressive voice, if we set the bar at Maura Davis, let's say Schambra is Caithlin de Marrais. That's not to say Schambra's a detracting factor -- she's fully capable of singing strong melodies and hitting neck-craning pitches, and manages to move along well with the flowing, rock-anchored instrumentation of her bandmates.

However, Schambra is admittedly outshone a little bit by said bandmates, who craft active, crisp and interchanging leads, from chunky rock riffs to atmospheric chords. They lay a pulsating, pounding base for the chorus of Schambra's musings on "Hail Mary," a heavier set of Sunny Day Real Estate vibes on the moody "An Alliance of Thieves," and simple fretboard flicks for the grasping arena indie rock of opener "Undeserving You." Their ringing chords matched up with Schambra endearingly singing "I can let this go / I can mess this up / anywhere with anyone / but I can't go on without you" in "Shatter Historic" is absolutely gorgeous -- maybe even The Longue Durée's best moment.

It's been a while since we heard the beautiful guitar textures Matt Allison is capable of producing, as heard on the Lawrence Arms' 2003 masterpiece, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and teamed up with TLA drummer Neil Hennessy here he does it again, converting Holy Roman Empire's chops into a versatile array of sounds. It seems like it's just what the band needed.

The Longue Durée has enough things going for it: it's as solid a debut full-length can usually be produced; its style is a pleasant surprise considering its members' preceding projects; and it could be a great breakout release for Hewhocorrupts, Inc. However, Holy Roman Empire seem poised to certainly make a mark with it themselves -- they're surely deserving based on its merits.

An Alliance of Thieves


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Captain_Cripple (November 1, 2007)

These review comments are so pointless! I can't believe this shit exists on a place called PUNKnews! When will people learn that stupid details like the singer is fat, they have odd facial hair, and the band doesn't look punk enough are irrelevant to the music! If punk rock is in fact dead I think I know why. It's assholes like you kids who get there jollies ripping on bands who put there shit out FOR YOU TO LISTEN TO AND HOPEFULLY ENJOY! In the words of Ian Mackaye, "WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE?!?!"Anyone ever heard of progress? obviously not on this website. So why don't all of you kids go back to 1977 and listen to Johnny Thunders. After your overdose you'll realize punk has moved on and continues to change daily. What is punk? Freedom for the artist and constant movement, next time you review a band think about perhaps where the band is coming from and what they are trying to get across, then let people know how well they did it, not what clothes they wore to the premeire. Critics are people who watch a battle from high above and when the battles over only then do they come down to shoot the survivors. Critics? USELESS! As for the album? It is played weekly on my iPOD!! The production of the record is top notch, the band sounds larger than life. I am eating alive by the sounds. When I listen to the album I feel like I am watching them in a HUGE concert hall somewhere, which someday perhaps I will actually get to hear them at. Don't start on the sell-out shit either, The Sex Pistols were a fucking boy band! You only sell-out when you give in. Hopefully people will give the record a chance before reading these stupid god damn reviews. DON'T READ REVIEWS BY STUPID ASSHOLES LIKE ME! JUST CHECK OUT MUSIC FOR YOURSELF!

icedmaple (July 2, 2007)

I was at the release show, too - I'd just flown in from London the day before and made a point to be there even though I only had a few days in town and was totally jet lagged - and it was absolutely worth every minute, dollar and effort made.


None of them attempt to make any profit - monetary or professional from having been in certain bands before. The people who drag it up are the journalists and the scene kids. I can tell you categorically, that being overshadowed by P-We is the last thing anyone in that band wants (and I say this despite Fall Out Boy actually being my favourite band - when I flew to Chicago, they were the reason I was there).

Emily is a hugely talented singer with an amazingly strong voice. Someone below commented on how any other band would be overshadowed by her, and they're right. Seeing them live I was genuinely blown away by how effortless her vocals were. I also found her remarkably cute. You can call her fat if you want to, but personally, I would rather date a girl her build and someone who looks like they can have fun without fear of chipping a nail, than I would any of the push-up bra'd frontwomen around right now.

You don't have to be busty and skinny to be beautiful, any more than you need to be a guy to front a band. It seems to me that people like to churn out cliches in giving their opinions of bands, because they're afraid of not being 'cool'.

Suck it up, kids.

I think this album is fantastic, and I have been listening to it incessantly for weeks. As someone who generally can't stand female vocals, this really says a lot in itself.

Anonymous (June 22, 2007)

This girl is beautiful. She is extremely pretty. Simply because she's not 95 pounds and 5'11" does not mean she's by any means fat.

This is exactly what is wrong with society today. Our perception of what is beautiful has been set by a media who place women in places completely unnatural to them.

Perhaps people have forgotten what curves actually look like on a woman. Especially in an industry where the guys look like the girls and vice/versa. And this girl has curves in the right places, in a classic way a woman should.

And I've never seen somebody back it up by singing like nobody's business.

elephantdwarf (June 17, 2007)

yeah... like in the way that its hilarious how much better she is than this crap band. yup.

super_chelsea (June 16, 2007)

Joanna Newsom? that's hilarious.

elephantdwarf (June 15, 2007)

so because that dude made a comment you didn't like about the singer being 'fat', you go and stoop to his level insinuating that he's gay? i don't see how that makes you any more mature than him.

i don't have a prejudice against female fronted bands, personally. i just think that girl lead singers try to actually "sing" a lot more often than male vocalists. and 95% of the time they fall way short of their aim.

examples of girl singers that actually work (IMO):
Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink (Azure Ray)
Belle & Sebastian (when there are girl parts)
Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)
Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead)
Chann Marshall (Cat Power)
Sara Lov (Devics)
Leslie Feist (Feist)
Joanna Newsom (because her voice is so unique and not trying to do more than its really capable of)
Yasuko Onuki (Melt-Banana)
and sometimes i don't mind Karen O's voice, but thats a rare, rare listen.

thats just off the top of my head, im sure i could think of a few more, but im not going to.

oh and Lily Allen.

ordin00 (June 13, 2007)

I was at the record release show for this. I don??t know what it was, perhaps relief at having completed a stellar new album, perhaps pressure brought to bear from the upcoming tour with Rise Against, but Holy Roman Empire sounded born again. The show was outstanding.

Over the last couple of days, I??ve had a chance to sit down and listen to the Longue Duree. For HRE fans, the new record??s songwriting and variation between tracks is far and away better than the EP Landscapes. For those of you who don??t know HRE, the Longue Duree is as strong a debut LP as I??ve ever heard. Worth Buying. One of the ten best records I??ve bought this year.

As for Emily being drowned out by her bandmates, I don??t hear it. I think Schambra??s voice is a powerful and potent weapon in the HRE arsenal. In every respect, Emily??s vocals display depth, power, and range. Thinking about what the reviewer said above, I realized Emily??s voice is a component of what makes HRE heads and shoulders above other cookie cutter hardcore bands. Holy Roman Empire has two equally balanced solo instruments: Jay??s guitar and Emily??s voice. The guitar work on the record is massive. Emily??s voice both complements and rivals the power of HRE??s Gibsons throughout to create a sound that is clearly Holy Roman??s own.

As for the guy who said that HRE sounded like a ??fat girl yelling at you?. Wrong. Just Plain Wrong. There??s a lot of prejudice against female leads. I think that??s what were seeing here. Perhaps the author of that quote would prefer to make a pass at a rail-thin chick with no curves that resembles a boy. Maybe he??d be getting closer to what he was really after.

super_chelsea (June 12, 2007)

some things:

1. I disagree that Emily is overshadowed by her bandmates. I think the strength of their talent is equal to the enormity of her voice. Neither over shadows the other. A less talented singer with a more ordinary voice would be drowned by the Holy Roman boys. A less skilled, more ordinary group of musicians would get lost under the power and command of Emily's voice. One supports the other, and they need each other to achieve the technical beauty that is present in every polished Holy Roman song.

2. To call Holy Roman "chick music" is laughably naive, and clearly a result of the "chick" lead singer. It would be nice if we could progress past that label and its negative implications simply because one of the band members lacks penis.

3. Do not underestimate the influence that Jay Jancetic had on Pete Wentz and how this helped him to achieve his (annoying) fame. I'm thinking there are a lot of dollars that should be headed Jay's way.

4. I fail to see how Emily's weight has any bearing on her voice or the music that Holy Roman produces. I fail to see how making comments of that nature is at all helpful or intelligent or appropriate. There are a lot of choice words I'm suppressing. I'll say this: I can just imagine what a gem you are, that you feel it is acceptable to call a girl "fat" on a message board, completely ignoring the actual nature of her voice or the music she writes or the fact that she's human. As for you and your physique - I'm sure you're God's gift. What a moron.

elephantdwarf (June 10, 2007)

this band should play lilith fair

burningfeeetman (June 9, 2007)

I dunno, I've checked out this band a few times and each time I thought they sucked.

Anonymous (June 9, 2007)

I reallllly didn't like this. Schambra is way less than impressive and the lyrical content is seriously mediocre--vague droopy lyrics about vague problems in vague relationships. Snooze.

Anonymous (June 9, 2007)

"Post Hardcore"? Yeah, you can call it anything you want, but it doesn't change the fact that I bailed on this band's live set after 3 songs to go make a grilled cheese. BORING!


die_die_die (June 8, 2007)

Eh? Can't we all say that Band A sounds like Band B who sounds like Band C back in the day when the leads mom served them pudding on their stoops? You didn't really list many flaws with it but knocked off a couple of points and didn't go either way with it. Is it cause you left stuff out or are you just an indecisive bastard? (;

Anyways, the record is much better than the EP and things seem to fit well enough. Good catchy songs, diverse songs, great vocals, not much more you could ask for in a record.

onegirlarmy (June 8, 2007)

not to mention you clearly don't even know what you're talking about. Emily is neither fat nor does she yell.

onegirlarmy (June 8, 2007)

cool band, but I dont enjoy watching fat chicks in tight clothes yell at me.

Wow, your ignorance is astounding. if it bothers you that much you don't have to go to one of their shows.

JustinUCR (June 8, 2007)

...for the record, I actually cared about Arma Angelus.

plaidical (June 8, 2007)

cool band, but I dont enjoy watching fat chicks in tight clothes yell at me.

onegirlarmy (June 8, 2007)

Great album.

TheMike (June 8, 2007)

"This band is neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."

Greetings, Voltaire.

red_eye_inc (June 8, 2007)

For every $5 someone makes off of "ex-arma angelus", they should give $1 to Pete Wentz. Nobody gave a fuck about that band until they were on his resume.

skaboom (June 8, 2007)

"With members laying claim to previous outfits like ... and Arma Angelus"

I cannot begin to say how funny I find it that one of these dudes used to be in a band with Pete Wentz.

Badger_Legion (June 8, 2007)

This band is neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

elephantdwarf (June 8, 2007)

this is such a weird label for this band.

SydBarrett420 (June 8, 2007)

Not really digging this, but I burned it for my girlfriend. Seems more like chick music anyways.

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