Savage Empire is a modern metal band from Charlotte, NC, formed by former Black Ritual members Gary Rackley, Eddie “E-rock” Cousins, and Brandon Dees. Seeking a more modern metal sound, they found guitarist Warren Daelhousen (Key of Betrayal) and recruited Vocalist Joshua Setzer to complete the lineup. Shortly after, they wrote their first single “Bloodmoon.” Following The release of their single Brandon Dees moved to Utah which led to bringing in longtime friend of both Gary and E-rock, Chris Malone (Dragged by the Neck) as his replacement to prepare for their debut show at the Carolina Headbangers Ball at the Gashouse in Gastonia, NC where Gary Rackley announced his retirement which caused a domino effect inside the band. Following their next show in Boone, NC, Chris Malone left the band due to health issues, and shortly after E-Rock announced his retirement leaving Warren and Josh to make the decision of carrying on the legacy they were left by some of Charlotte’s Metal scene legends, or letting the flame grow cold.

Warren and Josh began picking up the pieces in search for members to fill out the rest of their lineup where they found upcoming vocalist Jordan Kuehn bringing along with him intense vocal delivery with the ability to seamlessly transition between high and low screams, with lyrics that deal with themes of personal struggle and perseverance. From what I have seen his performances are always passionate and full of raw emotion.

Savage Empire – Original Lineup

Justin “Crispy” Rippy (Auxillia) at the recommendation of Joey Park from Park Productions who recorded their first single “Bloodmoon” to fill the shoes of E-rock, bringing thunderous energy to every groove, and filling out the low end of the mix and adding an extra layer of intensity to each song. Joey Park does the band another solid and recommended drummer Trace Whitson who in the long run made the band’s sound became more dynamic and powerful than ever before. His heavy-handed style adds a commanding presence to the band’s live performances, providing a backbone for the rest of the members to build on.

Now that their lineup is complete, they continue where they left off but in a bit of a heavier direction keeping only one of the original songs thus, they got to work on what would be their second single “Flight of The Fallen” written in commemoration of the passing of Joshua Setzer’s Father earlier that year. Following the release of “Flight of the Fallen” that showcased Savage Empire’s unique mix of heavy guitar riffs, screaming, and clean vocals, and also highlighting their diverse musical influences.

The new lineup took on their first show at The Blind Tiger in Greensboro, NC opening for national act Tantric which Warren says they only managed to get that show because of a faux flyer that was made in an NC metal group by a promoter who booked at the blind tiger. Their first show turned out to be a success, the band was met with yet another devastating blow as Joshua Setzer left the band due to personal reasons following the show with Tantric.

Savage Empire

Despite Joshua’s departure, he continued helping them with artwork as well as designing merch. Instead of searching for a replacement for Josh. Warren stepped up to do all the clean vocals along with taking on all guitar duties, therefore the remaining members of Savage Empire continued to evolve as a four-piece, honing their sound and style, delivering a heavy yet melodic performance that showcases their passion for the heavier side of metalcore. Their latest single, “Empire,” is a testament to their musical evolution and talent. This evolution of sound took Warren’s guitar abilities to new heights, combining heavy djent style riffs with melodic lines and crushing breakdowns. His backing vocals also add a new layer to the band’s live sound, bringing a more polished and professional feel to their performances.

March 11th 2023, Savage Empire released their highly anticipated 4 track EP Rise of an Empire, featuring new tracks that further demonstrate their dynamic sound and intense energy. With their unique blend of heavy guitar riffs, screaming, and clean vocals and an undeniable talent, Savage Empire is a rising force in the metal scene that is sure to leave an unforgettable impression so be sure to keep an eye out for shows they have coming up in the future.


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