Fallen Empires - Snow Patrol
Fallen Empires Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth album for the Northern Ireland alternative rock band was recorded in California and features Lissie, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, and Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist, Troy Van Leeuwen as guests.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. 80
    Lightbody and company manage to deliver an unyielding and substantially satisfying collection of high quality upbeat tracks and atmospheric ballads.
  2. 75
    For all the sentiment, it's the simplest stuff that rings true.
  3. Jan 10, 2012
    What makes this all feel reasonably unforced is the abiding earnestness in the songwriting.
  4. 50
    Every successful band eventually put out a bloated album, and for Northern Ireland's Snow patrol, it's Fallen Empires. [Feb 2012, p.84]
  5. Jan 24, 2012
    Whether they're trying to obscure the songs' perceived flaws or make some sort of dazzling artistic statement, the band opts for grandiose production (courtesy of Jacknife Lee) and sprawling arrangements--cue the orchestra and the choir--that blunt the effect of Lightbody's deceptively strong songwriting.
  6. Jan 12, 2012
    Packs too many failed experiments. [Dec. 2011 p. 98]
  7. Jan 10, 2012
    Yet for all the textural variety they provide, those welcome cameos rarely succeed in leavening Lightbody's pervasive gloom.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Dec 10, 2012
    Nothing less than the most beautiful album I have ever heard. This maybe me getting obsessed by it, probably, though I'm not really a huge snow patrol fan. To some, I can see how the album maybe quite cheesy. However, this is my honest review and this is how I feel. No song drifts below 6/10, most are either 8, 9 or 10. Every song I love, from the beautiful majesty and poetic similarities and yet differences of Garden Rules and New York, to the fun poppy single feel of Called out in the dark and In the End, to rising exciting torrents of I'll never let go and Fallen Empires. My personal favourites though are the grand, almost Florence and the Machine in style, The weight of love and the happy, warm, relaxing brew of The symphony. But in general, I adore how the whole album seems to rhyme, the way the lyrics of Empire are weaved really well throughout the album, and just how every song is a blast. So there you go, not the most critically assessed review, just an 18 year old guy's honest opinion. An 18 year old guy, who second favourite album is Neon bible by Arcade fire I may add... Expand
  2. Jan 13, 2012
    Lightbody claimed that this album would take Snow Patrol in a new direction; apart from a few samples of electronica, this album is trademark Snow Patrol. It features Lightbody's personal and glossy lyrics, typical attempts to draw you in with the Irish croon of his distinctive voice and songs that are written to mean something to anyone. In those ways, the album succeeds; but it is what it is and not anything else. Expand
  3. Jan 18, 2012
    I was anxious to hear their sixth studio album. There are some artists that never receive particularly 'over-zealous' album reviews no matter what they do and Snow Patrol is one of them. Also reviewers tend to compare Snow Patrol to Coldplay and U2 all the time, which I think it's not realistic.
    But once put in those shoes there's little Snow Patrol can do to change the opinion but to pursue their own way. Snow Patrol on 'Fallen Empires' is still a special band, still indie and alternative. Also, they are again commercial, all that makes them different from the mainstream others - it's a blend that is usually hard to achieve. Although apparently Lightbody had a lack of creativity ideas while doing it- but it shows only a little. The fact I like on 'Fallen Empires' is that they've never fallen into the trap called 'commercial mainstream' even after the upswing of their career in 2009 and 2010. But, they will probably be successful, again. The album brings what is the essence of Snow Patrol but coated differently. Most of the time. The rest of it, they sound just like old Snow Patrol from the first two albums' period. A bit too much, if you ask me. Gary Lightbody holds the steering wheel of the band very tightly, too tightly to get the best result. "The Garden Rules", "Life-ning", "Those Distant Bells" and "The President" they are all good but Snow Patrol should know better in 2011. These songs all sound like we've heard them at least a dozen times before and all in better versions. If the other part of the album wasn't quite exciting, fresh, a bit experimental and different: it would be 'a standard (average) album sounding like a standard Snow Patrol', but the discrepancy between these two is too obvious that makes the album's main characteristic as 'unbalanced'. 'Berlin' is an instrumental 'para-ra ra ra' experiment which fits into the whole new direction of the 'most of the time' songs, but I'm finding hard to see the purpose of it. Playing the album I got the feeling that Snow Patrol need somebody new, an outsider, to tell them Gary Lightbody in particular, that 'less is more' and that pursuing his own ideas into the 'Wild West' makes them go a step back on the record that supposed (and would be) a step forward. Closing ' Fallen Empires' on say, 9-10 tracks would get far better result. Maybe it's time that Garret Jacknife Lee stays their 'sixth member, friend and a brother', even a collaborator and a co-producer because at the moment he seems too much into Lightbody's 'Wild West' trip which very much needs outsider's push onto the right road.

    The nine of the 'most of' songs are more or less really good. Expect the unexpected. The winning formula if you go exploring music, getting new, fresh, even odd ideas. You may like some songs or not, but liking them or not makes no difference on how good they are in their own ways (and structures) sometimes sounding like U2 OK yes.
    This goes particularly to 'Called out in the dark', their first single (with hilariously funny video) and my favourite, 'Fallen Empires'.
    Snow Patrol are on their finest on the second single 'This Isn't Everything You Are' beautiful ballad at their best, but lacks sufficient strength to launch it to the stratosphere unless it ends up at the most dramatic moment in some of the hit TV series, 'The Good Wife' perhaps. "New York", "In the End" and "The Symphony" round the great ones. On the latter, the most refreshing is a strong female backup vocal, as it is on 'I'll Never Let Go' .

    Snow Patrol are on the right track for future, with the small stall and they need a small shovel to clear out too much snow that's blocking their doorstep.
  4. May 18, 2012
    Snow Patrol are what they are and are reasonably good at what they do. Once you accept this and aren't expecting anything revolutionary, you can enjoy this band. The Northern Irish rockers latest attempt sounds shamelessly like a U2 record, except not quite as good as their fellow Islanders. Opener "I'll Never Let Go" is a clear nod towards Achtung Baby. The lead singles "Called Out in the Dark" and "This isn't Everything You Are" are as strong as anything the band have put out and the album is worth hearing for those tracks. Unfortunately, like their last record, if you take out the singles the rest of the album tracks offer very little. Also the best stuff on here is all toward the start of the album, their is a consistent trailing off of quality as the album progresses. To be fair though, the album is well produced and they have made a good job of dressing up what is for the most part an average enough bunch of songs. It's far from a bad album but it's not one that will be remembered in years to come. Expand
  5. Jan 19, 2012
    Though we hear the beginnings of a move forward musically by a band that is good at going post-genre music, I guess I would have liked to have seen more of it. This is very much the Snow Patrol people know, and it is still very prevalent throughout the album. On the plus side, we hear some funky and electronically-inclined new sounds from them. On the downside, I thought this album was very much a formulaic continuation of previous works, which is a bummer because there are some really great sounds and ideas on this album. Still, this album will be fun to most average listeners who are looking for something fun and radio-friendly. Expand
  6. Jun 29, 2012
    Having loved all Snow patrols previous albums, I was excited to receive their newest: 'Fallen empires', however - I was thoroughly disappointed. Although you could say that this is due to my nostalgic experiences with their old music, meaning that I wasn't prepared for anything different, or new... and to an extent, this is true. But I have only managed to pick out about 3 songs that I actually liked: 'New york, called out in the dark and this isn't everything you are' - and the fact these songs are so likable almost makes up for the fact that the rest of the album really isn't very good at all. The songs don't particularly fit with the lyrics, and don't have that unexplainable pull of all things previously... and his voice is so gorgeous, other than those three songs - it seems a bit of a waste. But I'm young, and an amateur - what would I know? Expand