Imperial Triumphant – Abyssal Gods (Code666, 10 March 2015)
Imperial Triumphant – Inceste (CD and digital Redefining Darkness Records, 15 April 2016 / vinyl Temple of Torturous, 23 March 2018)
[NOTE: this is the second of a two-part series on NYC black metal crusaders Imperial Triumphant. If you’ve missed the first part, check it out here.]
As I’ve mentioned, Imperial Triumphant have become known for producing unique and unpredictable music, which is dense and complex and really requires some commitment of time and attention from the listener to really be able to unpack and grasp everything that’s happening. The same could be said of the two releases we’ll be discussing in this article, their second full-length (released in early 2015, just two months before I finally got the opportunity to experience this band in person) and another EP that will be turning two years old this weekend (which just last month was given the vinyl treatment with several bonus tracks). Let’s dig right in!
Playing on the oft-used description of some styles of black metal as “bees buzzing angrily in a cave,” Abyssal Gods‘ first track “From Palaces of the Hive” starts out sounding like “Flight of the Bumblebees” performed by a demon orchestra in hell. Just in case you were afraid these guys had suddenly made the switch to Easy Listening, let me assure you they did not.
Like its predecessor, this album has some piano parts too, plus occasional appearances by various strings and trumpets, coming across like some sort of Prokofiev fever dream. The incorporation of background vocals from some sort of nightmarish undead choir certainly doesn’t help dissuade from this impression. Although to be perfectly honest, neither does the bittersweet angelic choir that hovers above the brief instrumental “Celestial War Rape.” Imperial Triumphant at perhaps their most imperial and most triumphant.
Get your copy of Abyssal Gods on CD/vinyl/digital here.
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The 2016 EP Inceste, containing four tracks and running just over twenty minutes, sees the group continuing to push envelopes in terms of creativity, drawing a bit of a neo-baroque influence in both the arrangement and composition of opening instrumental “Libertine,” before going all batshit crazy through grim waltzes and other peculiar blends of ungodly noise.
The vinyl reissue (which Temple of Torturous made available exactly three weeks ago) doubles the number of tracks, adding stripped-down versions of two of the band’s own songs (“Krokodil” from Abyssal Gods and “Breath of Innocence” from side A of Inceste) with all the “metal band” aspects subtracted, leaving just the additional vocal and/or symphonic bits of each. The other two extras in this new package are an abridged, bass-only rendition of Miles Davis‘ “Nefertiti” (from the album of the same name), and finally, “La Douleur Exquise,” an inexplicably strange (and undescribably eerie) sound collage.
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Winterforge Promotions Presents:
Slaves BC Album Release Party
with special guests Imperial Triumphant, Vile Creature, Tartarus
Friday, 13 April 2018
at Howlers, 4509 Liberty Ave Pittsburgh (Bloomfield)
full details here: http://www.facebook.com/events/249399645602985/