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solid slab of thrashy prog/power - 77%

Nahsil, November 28th, 2008

I tend to like prog/power bands that favor heavy thrash-influenced riffing over their lighter counterparts, so this relatively unknown Imperium album hits the spot. I'm not an expert on the history of the genre, but it's probably one of the first albums of its kind, marrying chunky riffs with progressive song structures and a singer fairly typical, these days, of the style on display.

Too Short a Season is a little raw, a little unpolished, but it succeeds in more ways than it fails. Sounding at times like Razor's mid-paced Shotgun Justice era material (just listen to the riff in the second track around 1:12), and then switching over to the kind of prog metal Queensryche and Fates Warning fans would be proud of, Imperium should please prog rockers -- and people not entirely satisfied with metal you can't bang your head to -- alike. It's not so different from the first Psychotic Waltz album, except it's not as good. Imperium's frontman André Vuurboom pales in comparison to Buddy Lackey and other more memorable metal singers; his tone is grating and he's probably the biggest obstacle staying this album from being a true 'lost gem,' despite possessing a decent falsetto. It's otherwise very good, with a wide variety of riffs not limited to the stylings of thrash, impressive audible bass playing, and a drummer who understands timing and has a good sense of when to busy it up with fills and when to be a simple rhythm-keeper.

I should probably reiterate the thrash influence, because I'm listening to song number 6, "Chemical Dreams," and it could easily pass as something released in 1986 alongside Slayer's Reign in Blood. These Dutchmen wrote better thrash riffs than quite a few thrash bands, in fact, though they did have the gift of hindsight given this album's 1993 release date.

With the right vocallist (how about Dio? can't ever go wrong with Dio!), I'd rate this lone Imperium album much higher.