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Raw Hatred - 85%

Taliesin, March 7th, 2008

A blast of hatred, atmosphere and imperial rage, Rise of the Imperial Hordes is not alltogether a great album, but when it works it works incredibly well, creating a chaotic, nihilistic and yes, European atmosphere. All of the best moments from these early American black metal bands, particularly in Judas Iscariot and Krieg, create a strange medieval European feeling, but European in terms of philosophy, but tied with a distinctly American nihilistic regard for conventional moral rules, figureheads and other such brick brack of European burgeous society. Rage is found in the hatred and disgust for modern American culture and the blind acceptance of religion as the sheep flock to pasture under their divine pastor.

Krieg storm in their impotent hatred, and a desolation and desperation combined with malice and anger is foretold in Imperial's insane shrieks. Almost as if he is attempting to dissolve the world of man and the chains of the modern with his voice, he never ceases in his vocal cord torment. The music is shapeless, formless like a chaotic void, sometimes giving rise to architectural manifestations to bring some sort of ease to the at times overwhelmed listener. Atmosphere relies upon the production and the interludes that bring some focus to the listener to understand a bit better the whys of their creation. Production is clear but fierce, guitars a metal stamp and drums a dull thud to rest underneath the previously spoken of vocal attack.

An abstract expressionist of a black metal release, Krieg impress me on here, even if it is not an album to go in regular circulation through my cd player. It certainly satisfies a part of my black metal needs, in its chaos and plague ridden desolate hatred.

A Black Metal Disaster. - 15%

Perplexed_Sjel, November 4th, 2007

Surprise, surprise. A Krieg album with no substance? No way! Well, of course. It's another poor show from one of America's oldest black metal bands, Krieg. I'm not understanding the appeal of this band whatsoever. Nor do I understand why they are signed to No Colours Records, a highly respectable, and respected label. It's prestigious label is no reflection on what Krieg are all about.

Mediocrity is Krieg's maiden name, didn't you know? Well, having said that, they do make some tidy riffs. But is the occasional half decent riff enough to withstand the bashing reviewers will probably give them? No. Unfortunately for Krieg, it's not. Half way decent riffs will not save them from mediocrity. Well, let's start with the most disappointing element of this full-length shall we. It's got to be those awful vocals. Constipation in the form of singing. Krieg's vocalist is poor. He has no presence amongst the band, or their music. He is simply just THERE. Whether he screams, growls or does those ridiculous clean vocals, he adds nothing to this full-length. The riffs, even the good one's, cannot be his saving grace from embarrassment. At one stage, he does this little laugh during a song, I often wonder whether he's laughing at us for actually listening to this record, or if he's laughing at himself because he's so shit. Either one would make sense, if truth be told.

Get ready for your ears to explode with fright, your eyes to pop out of how extraordinarily bad Krieg are and just wait for your head to burst. I'm listening to those vocals again and I hate to harp on, but what the fuck? Seeming he's attempting to recreate Mayhem's early vocals? Surely? He fails no matter what he thinks he is doing. Then we have those poor spoken vocals. Why are they even there? The percussion is poor. Variation is not Krieg's friend. Either he does blast beats, or he just makes no sound whatsoever. No sound whatsoever sounds good to me! Unfortunately the production is so good, you can hear everything. I wish it was so poor you could barely hear anything. There's a particular section of one song, which has this little intro from a movie or something, and a guy talks about suicide. Oh, how great that would be right now! Krieg are extremely poor at what they do. They disgrace black metal with their nothing atmospheres. Songs are far too short to ever get to grips with what's going on. Krieg with little or no time available to them to be able to make any impact upon the listener. At times, they switch between genres as well, which makes it ever more difficult to follow the 'action'. When I say action, I mean blast beats and dire vocals.

Give this a miss, please.

A Reasonable Rise…But Needs Room for Improvement - 65%

Tzeench, August 31st, 2007

With its eponymous debut full-length EP, American black metal army Krieg burst surprisingly out of nowhere onto the USBM scene. With all bands making their humble beginnings, everything is relative to the performers involved. Some begin with a phenomenal impression and then degrade and devolve into self-parody with time and age, while other bands improve and mature with time, practice and experience. Such is the case here with “Rise of the Imperial Hordes.”

The album theme takes a little less focus on typical “evil” and “Satanism” in favour of more pure hatred, war, death, violence and destruction - perhaps even touching on blasphemy at times. The intro, “The Arrival,” opens up with a narrative voice which sounds reasonable at first, then kind of sounds a tad mawkish and cheesy. The synthesizers and imitation orchestra are reasonable too and do improve just the intro. Sadly, the intro gives not the best impression of this album in general – showing this is an American black metal band that still has much to learn, master and perfect. Nonetheless, it is a reasonable start.

With explosion samples, the opening track – “Alarum” – opens up the stories of destruction for the album. This is one of the highest highlights on the album. The song structure is quite good, fairly violent and aggressive with a mid-paced ending, decrescendo down into an ominous end of bass notes.

The next two tracks, “The Great Black Death,” and “As Humanity Fades” are – honestly – the only other decent songs on the entire album. The rest of the album descends into a horrible half-assed compilation of poorly improvised lyrics, television script quotes and sound samples from movies and yet more fledging – practically pubescent/teenaged – “cheesiness” with too many synth/keyboard interludes, varied voice imitations and poor, sluggish, musicianship.

The production of this album is 50/50. While the guitars and bass do exhibit a fair amount of chunky tone, rawness, distortion and brutality, it’s also rather quite flat. The drums especially sound rather very flat – particularly the snare drum. Yes, as a drummer, I’m a major stickler for drum kit production. The whole of the band sounds rather flat altogether, like the band were performing in an over-the-top sound proofed room. Very dry and very flat production, lacking in atmosphere, which is a major disappointment. The only time any other reverb or echo for “atmosphere” comes into play is in some the rather embarrassing interludes. Albeit a few interludes (i.e. “Reunion of the Ancients”) are reasonable, they sound rather contrived and imitated from another influential artist.

The bonus track of the Havohej cover, “Enlightened Ones,” is also fairly reasonable. I would even suggest it’s another best highlight with the aforementioned tracks above, even though the sound, vocals and production try a little too hard to mimic and imitate the exact same sound as heard on Havohej’s “The Black Mist” EP.

Accordingly, it’s a reasonable start for a band in its infant/fledging stages, so it’s no reason to give up on this band even if this release is no more than “reasonable.” It took the band about four years and a host of other splits, EPs and demos before perfecting a more mature sound.

I would recommend Krieg’s later releases instead, as they do show vast improvement with their latter-following efforts. Nonetheless, all art is subjective. So if you think you would still enjoy the humble beginnings of Krieg’s “Rise of the Imperial Hordes,” by all means enjoy yourself.

Decent highlighted tracks: “Alarum,” “The Great Black Death,” “As Humanity Fades.”

Pure Hatred - 90%

BassLord, December 24th, 2005

With “Rise of the Imperial Hordes”, Krieg created one of the most violent, hateful albums I have ever heard. I am sure some people will be offended by that statement, and that there are more violent albums than this one, but this is some extreme shit!

Almost totally shunning black metal’s usual allusions to melody, Krieg create songs that resemble total chaos. Most songs are fairly short bursts of discordant riffs, blast beats, and hateful vocals. However, there are also slower riffs, clean guitar parts, and keyboard interludes to break up the madness. Some songs are just keyboard and vocals, giving this album a unique atmosphere. The recording quality is pretty good, putting equal emphasis on each instrument. The packaging is also nice, adorned with paintings of epic battles and demons.

The vocals are surely an interesting aspect of this release. Just about every song contains multiple vocal lines. There are the standard vomited black metal screams, but then overdubbed there are many normal screams(by normal I mean the kind of scream someone would emit if they were in extreme pain or horror struck), and then there is also many line of talking and narration.

The liner notes state this album was almost 100% improvised. As strange as that may seem, I believe it wholeheartedly. The instrumentation on this album is so sloppy that it sounds like a band rehearsal. Guitar mistakes are frequent and easily noticeable, and the drums are so sloppily played they often come out of time. However, these factors only add to the outright nihilism of this record.

This album is sure to please any fan raw, violent black metal. Krieg are definitely one of the better bands in the USBM scene as they try to create their own style rather than copy the work of Scandinavian bands.