Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville review




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Reviewer:
9.0

39 users:
7.95
Band: Imperial Triumphant
Album: Alphaville
Release date: July 2020


01. Rotted Futures
02. Excelsior
03. City Swine
04. Atomic Age
05. Transmission To Mercury
06. Alphaville
07. The Greater Good
08. Experiment [Voivod cover] [bonus]
09. Happy Home [The Residents cover] [bonus]


Imperial Triumphant may have very well become one of my absolute favorite Avant-garde bands of the past ten years.

Not to say that the band weren't up to good things prior to 2015, but it was really the Abyssal Gods album, from that same year, that shifted Imperial Triumphant into far more abstract and deconstructionist territory. The band began to develop a new, highly theatrical aesthetic, one strongly influenced not only by the urban environment of New York City from which they hail, but also classic noir and dystopian literature and film. While they received a fairly warm reception to Abyssal Gods, it was really 2018's Vile Luxury that cemented Imperial Triumphant's new identity, earning them much more attention than previously and catapulting them farther into the heights of underground metal stardom. Now, in 2020, they seek to capitalize upon that wave with Alphaville.

And capitalize, Imperial Triumphant certainly do. While it may seem difficult in theory to successfully follow up an album as massive and expansive in its songwriting as Vile Luxury, this is exactly what Alphaville brings to the table. Part of the reason it still sounds so fresh despite not being too out of sync with its predecessor is inevitably owed to the large palette of sounds and styles Imperial Triumphant call forth in the first place, which provides much room for additional exploration of previously untapped territory. For the most part, however, on Alphaville the band stay grounded in their peculiar, wobbly fusion of black metal and tech death, painting vivid pictures of the decadence of present day urban sacrifice with razor sharp, intricate guitar lines, a phenomenal rhythm section, and a broad production sense that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

But while it may have slight similarity to previous iterations of Imperial Triumphant's own work, Alphaville still carries very little resemblance to practically anything else in the extreme or Avant-garde metal spectrums. In part this is unquestionably owed to Imperial Triumphant's unstoppable combination of bassist Steve Blanco and drummer Kenny Grohowksi, both absolute masters of their craft who go 110% in with their respective instruments. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, few other Avant-garde, extreme metal bands can truly say that they nail the fusion between punishing and hypnotizing as well as do Imperial Triumphant, an aspect of the band that has arguably come to its peak with Alphaville. Here you get absolute bangers like "Excelsior" and "Atomic Age," where the metal elements are more at the forefront, as well as slow burners like "City Swine" and "Transmission To Mercury," that allow the more experimental elements to take command. Few other bands are able to nail both sides of this proverbial coin as excellently as do Imperial Triumphant.

Vile Luxury was a dense as hell, amazingly well written, and altogether challenging listening experience that, for all intents and purposes, seemed like an absolute bitch of an album to follow up on. But with Alphaville Imperial Triumphant have not only tapped back into the creative momentum that spawned Vile Luxury, but also appear to have gone beyond it, somehow making their idiosyncratic sound even more puzzling, layered, hefty, and captivating. 100 years after the so called "Roaring 20s" got underway, Imperial Triumphant are bringing back the extravagances and artistic boldness of that decade in their own way. And with Alphaville, they're certainly starting the 2020s off with a roar.

Now streaming at this location. For maximum experience, play the album in the background while watching the Jean-Luc Goddard film for which it's named on mute.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10


 



Written on 01.08.2020 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 133 users
01.08.2020 - 18:12
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I guess its about time I watched the Goddard film
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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01.08.2020 - 19:07
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 01.08.2020 at 18:12

I guess its about time I watched the Goddard film

Same, and I really do think I might do it on mute with the album playing first before watching it normally with the actual dialogue
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
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01.08.2020 - 22:47
Netzach
Planewalker
Well done, painting a vivid picture of a quite non-trivial style of music in this succinct a way! I will be checking this out in a near future. Great read!
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01.08.2020 - 23:06
SatanicBlood
I've attempted to like these guys, and this is coming from someone who enjoys to Portal, Deathspell Omega, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Unexpect, etc.
Am I missing something? What song should I hear first that isn't a single? The one that threw me off was the video about the stock market.
I'm willing to try again.
----
http://idolatryblackmetal.bandcamp.com

Canadian black metal
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01.08.2020 - 23:58
UnknownCheese
Well, at least the artwork is cool.
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02.08.2020 - 00:33
DeliciousDishes
This is fucking avant-garde as shit yo.

On a more serious note, this is almost overwhelming for how avant-garde it is, really jammy and jazzy. And I think that's why I never really managed to get into them. The whole aesthetic is amazing, as well as the titles etc. And I guess their music really fits that aesthetic too.
But sadly I'm a simple man and need something to hold onto I think. And it's so un-catchy from the first few listens. Really like the bass and drums on here though.
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02.08.2020 - 00:53
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by SatanicBlood on 01.08.2020 at 23:06

I've attempted to like these guys, and this is coming from someone who enjoys to Portal, Deathspell Omega, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Unexpect, etc.
Am I missing something? What song should I hear first that isn't a single? The one that threw me off was the video about the stock market.
I'm willing to try again.

It's actually funny that you mention Unexpect among bands that may conjure a similar vibe to IT. Indeed, part of the reason why I've latched on so hard to Imperial Triumphant is because their brand of Avant-garde feels a lot more tightly controlled and doesn't appear to go completely off the rails as does some other stuff I don't prefer all that much from Unexpect, Igorrr, etc. To each their own.

The band have gotten progressively weirder and more abstract since Abyssal Gods. That one is definitely weird in its own right, but a bit more grounded still in the more standard fare black metal they had been doing up to that point. I'd say give that one a fair full listen first, and if you can handle it, maybe try getting into Vile Luxury and this one from there?
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
02.08.2020 - 00:56
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by DeliciousDishes on 02.08.2020 at 00:33

On a more serious note, this is almost overwhelming for how avant-garde it is, really jammy and jazzy. And I think that's why I never really managed to get into them. The whole aesthetic is amazing, as well as the titles etc. And I guess their music really fits that aesthetic too.
But sadly I'm a simple man and need something to hold onto I think. And it's so un-catchy from the first few listens. Really like the bass and drums on here though.

I feels ya, I feels ya. Not for everyone I suppose.

But yes, the Imperial Triumphant rhythm section is fucking astounding, especially Steve Blanco. I honestly don't think I've been so captivated by a bassist in metal since first getting into Steve Digiorgio's work with Death and Sadus as a teenager.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
02.08.2020 - 02:01
SatanicBlood
Written by Apothecary on 02.08.2020 at 00:53

Written by SatanicBlood on 01.08.2020 at 23:06

I've attempted to like these guys, and this is coming from someone who enjoys to Portal, Deathspell Omega, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Unexpect, etc.
Am I missing something? What song should I hear first that isn't a single? The one that threw me off was the video about the stock market.
I'm willing to try again.

It's actually funny that you mention Unexpect among bands that may conjure a similar vibe to IT. Indeed, part of the reason why I've latched on so hard to Imperial Triumphant is because their brand of Avant-garde feels a lot more tightly controlled and doesn't appear to go completely off the rails as does some other stuff I don't prefer all that much from Unexpect, Igorrr, etc. To each their own.

The band have gotten progressively weirder and more abstract since Abyssal Gods. That one is definitely weird in its own right, but a bit more grounded still in the more standard fare black metal they had been doing up to that point. I'd say give that one a fair full listen first, and if you can handle it, maybe try getting into Vile Luxury and this one from there?
I used my references in a very loose context in the sense that avant garde isn't exactly a strange concept to me.
In terms of feeling more controlled, from what I've heard, it felt quite the opposite. Going off the rails isn't exactly a bad thing for me when it comes to experimentation. I'll definitely give a more honest listen to the band, I'm not one to completely push away something just because of one song. I mean, if I heard Ablutions by Sleepytime Gorilla Museum as my introduction to them. Yeah, I would have left it at that but they are one of my favorite bands despite that song.
----
http://idolatryblackmetal.bandcamp.com

Canadian black metal
Loading...
03.08.2020 - 00:42
nikarg
Mod
Written by Apothecary on 02.08.2020 at 00:56

But yes, the Imperial Triumphant rhythm section is fucking astounding, especially Steve Blanco. I honestly don't think I've been so captivated by a bassist in metal since first getting into Steve Digiorgio's work with Death and Sadus as a teenager.

I am in complete agreement (and I would add Autopsy's Severed Survival).

I just finished listening to this record for the first time after almost a full day of listening to the latest Primal Fear (I am not kidding). Initial impressions:
1) The album is immense. Possibly the best thing they have done.
2) It is avantgarde as fuck (and I am not saying this because my brain has been drenched in Primal Fear ). What Voivod (the "Experiment" cover rips) were doing back in their heyday, Imperial Triumphant have taken it to a whole new level.
3) The rhythm section is out of this fucking world and being a bass lover myself, I don't mind at all that the guitar sounds like it is taking the back seat on here; quite the opposite. And I am in awe of the drumming, too.
4) The mix is fantastic.
5) It is a difficult album and needs many listens to fully "untangle" it. It may come across as too improvisational or too jammy but I am sure that repeated listens will make everything fall into place. The most accessible track is the opener and maybe also "Transmission To Mercury".
6) I don't think we will see a better cover art this year.

Very good review, Che. It is difficult to describe successfully such a complex album.
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03.08.2020 - 00:56
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Honestly, I think 8.5 is too low
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
03.08.2020 - 02:45
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 03.08.2020 at 00:56

Honestly, I think 8.5 is too low

I 9'd it with my votes, might just have to bump the review up to that as well. Maybe I'm easily pleased and give a lot of positive reviews on here, but it fucking deserves it, damn it.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
03.08.2020 - 02:51
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by nikarg on 03.08.2020 at 00:42

I don't think we will see a better cover art this year.

Dat Neptunian Maximalism artwork tho man.... I dunno. Tough battle for sure.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
03.08.2020 - 07:27
Lord Slothrop
Their EP Inceste got my attention, but it was with Vile Luxury that I became a huge fan. I've been readily anticipating the release of Alphaville for months and hot damn... to paraphrase Nikarg, there is a lot to untangle here. This is one seriously complex album, a sonorous Gordian knot that will require multiple listens to decipher.

And kudos for calling out the brilliance of the production. I know in the album thread some have been criticizing the sound, but I think it's amazing. With my first listen I kept imagining howling demons trapped in a massive steel coffin, desperate to escape. Or some such nonsense. They are a very visual-sounding band for me and I can't wait to continue exploring this album. 9.5.
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03.08.2020 - 23:42
nikarg
Mod
Written by Apothecary on 03.08.2020 at 02:51

Written by nikarg on 03.08.2020 at 00:42

I don't think we will see a better cover art this year.

Dat Neptunian Maximalism artwork tho man.... I dunno. Tough battle for sure.

Yes, that would be my #2 pick. I just think the amount of detail on Alphaville is impressive.
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