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New York City black metallers Imperial Triumphant this year releases their long-anticipated full length debut, Abominamentvm, after a series of EPs and demos that display their rather unique style of metal, which they have dubbed baroque/black metal. Well I’m not exactly sure how that would work out, or how that would sound for that matter, but the 25 minutes ahead will soon prove to be some of the most insane, psychedelic black metal that I experience so far.
The insanity kicks off with Hierophant, with the guitars and that heavy bass line that creates a haunting, and disturbing atmosphere that is only made all the more uneasy with the lead guitars that often threatens to go out of tune. The real onslaught begins though with Manifesto and the listener is greeted with an entire barrage of aggressive riff work of guitarist Ilya, constantly backed by that unique style of lead playing, and the savage drumming of Alex, all of which coalesce into a sound that is reminiscent of bands like Deathspell Omega. Unsurprisingly then, there is a high emphasis on the technical and somewhat progressive aspects apart from that oppressive atmosphere that is present throughout, with bassist Erik constantly giving opportunities to display his skills like on Manifesto, alongside the complex playing of the rest of the band on their individual instruments, at times sounding like a blackened technical death metal band.
Despite all that is going on at the same time, the band does not forget to constantly remind listeners of the stench of pestilence all around, with the instrumental interludes such as Credo in Nihil and Scaphism instantly conjuring scenes of a post-apocalyptic world. These also serve the dual purpose of a short albeit uneasy break between intense tracks, and also as a build up to the next track, ensuring that tension is kept high throughout the album. The harsh sound effects such as at the end of Devs Est Machina are also cleverly placed, almost catching the listener unaware.
The sheer technical prowess of the band and that crushing atmosphere that pushes the limits of the listener’s sanity all make sure that the listener is given as abrasive an experience as possible. Imperial Triumphant has often been claimed to be the black metal equivalent of Portal, and it is extremely easy to see why on their excellent debut Abominamentvm.