(Austin Weber reviews the forthcoming second album by Imperial Triumphant from New York City.)
From time time that rare band will come along that ushers in a paradigm shift, one whose style and ideas will be aped by countless other groups, the majority of which will never be able to improve upon what inspired them. Throughout the history of metal (and all other musical genres) this pattern has held true, no matter how much the metal community likes to talk of the good old days where everything sounded unique, which is a revisionist lie. However, though a rare accomplishment, there will always be a few acts capable of shifting and squirming out of the confines of their influences and branching out into new territory.
As modern metal has increased in complexity, genre-defining bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, Necrophagist, Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega have provided inspiration that, in most hands, amounts to little more than re-tread templates used by bands who have a hard time making it their own. I mentioned Deathspell Omega last because their surging influence in black metal, and recently in death metal to degrees, is something I welcome, but often those who take influence from them seem to produce music that is more “in the vein of” than anything which improves upon Deathspell Omega or takes what they did to a musically new or different place.
As I said though, it’s a trend I am definitely behind, as it has led to a paradigm shift in the sound of many newer black metal bands. Yet I still do want to hear someone build upon that foundation to create something new rather than repetitive.
All of this is on my mind because New York City-based Imperial Triumphant have done this. They are the real deal — they have drawn inspiration from Deathspell Omega, but they’ve managed to meld that with classical influences, droning psychedelia, and an often death-metal-styled ruthlessness, coming out the other side with a warped sound distinctly their own. Their new album, Abyssal Gods, is everything they’ve done before, yet taken to so many higher and darker levels, showcasing even crazier, more manic drumming, even more insane songwriting, and somehow, even weirder riffs than before. Continue reading »