Imperial Triumphant- “Abyssal Gods”

Imperial Triumphant- "Abyssal Gods"

After approximately a decade of existence, Imperial Triumphant has seen fit to make 2015 the year that its presence grows large enough to be considered a recognizable force in the black metal underground. To say that past releases were insufficient would be complete folly; their last EP, 2013’s Goliath was a beast that could overshadow pretty much any LP, and even their earlier releases were promising and stood beyond the mark of typical black metal. Still, with Abyssal Gods, the discordant and tenuous black metal that has become Imperial Triumphant’s trademark is being elevated in both visibility and immediacy. From early offerings of thin yet evocative black metal to the force of pure chaos they’ve become, Imperial Triumphant’s career has followed a decidedly subterranean arc wherein each album becomes successively bleaker and fuller in sound. If Goliath was a stain of biblical proportions, then Abyssal Gods is the modern wreckage of society that will bring about its own destruction without the aid of a deity’s hand.

It’s evident that Abyssal Gods is not simply an ugly or unwelcoming album, it’s an album with a negativity that’s appealing because it reflects something familiar. The nameless discomfort that this album touches upon seems to be bred of humanity’s tendency to seek reward for goodness in a world that is doubtlessly imbalanced.  The dark corners of city life are illuminated by Imperial Triumphant’s penetrating gaze, with slanted guitars oozing into the deepest recesses, two drummers working in tandem to force the filth onward, and vocals that command attention amid the din of everything else. While the album occasionally introduces brass instruments and muted choirs of moans to add to the murk, the band alone offers up enough terror to fill the space, ensuring that the album feels vile and twisted with or without their inclusion. I realize at this point that I’m making this sound like one of those cavernous death metal albums everybody loves, and while this carries a similarly dense sound, the intricacy and layering of elements hint at something much more ambitious. Perhaps it makes sense that members of legendary shapeshifters Secret Chiefs 3 are involved, as well as folks from death metal mutant horde Pyrrhon. In a way, these nods to other projects are slightly misleading, as the dark forces channeled in Imperial Triumphant are unlike anything else these musicians have worked with, but their skill as a cohesive unit is as refined as these other acts.

While songs like “Twins” or “From Palaces of the Hive” have their instantly memorable moments that will grasp the attention of audiences, Abyssal Gods is not going to be an easy win for the casual listener. Catchy riffs come and go throughout this album, but the true strength is when one steps back and views each piece as a composition. The atmosphere is one in which the listener can easily get lost, but it takes an unconventional mind to find the “fun” in this. No good feelings here, just a wealth of misery for those of us who simply need to embrace decay from time to time. If you feel that the world has already ended and we may as well celebrate in the rubble with a glass of cheap champagne, this album was crafted with you in mind. Cry until you laugh, lose your mind in the process, and grab Abyssal Gods now from Code666/Aural Music.