Imperial Triumphant - Abyssal Gods
Code666 Records
Death/black metal
10 songs (41:52)
Release year: 2015
Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
Maybe a bit shallow of me, but I was first bothered to listen to pick this out of a stack of promos by the fact that it featured two members of Pyrrhon, one of my most exulted death metal bands. Imperial Triumphant are billed as cutting-edge- even avant-garde, black metal from New York; not such a new thing nowadays, but the idea of that band’s spiralling, fusion-influenced style being brought to bear on the subject had a lot of appeal for me at least. (Having said that, the frontman here (supplying vocals and guitar) is the somewhat-offensively named Ilya Goddessraper, who does a great job). Anyway. There are certainly a lot of commonalities with Pyrrhon, though the ‘black metal‘ tag thrown at it is somewhat misleading. If I had to sum this up as glibly as possible, I’d say it’s like the aforementioned playing, not the kind of Atheist-inspired fusion-death of albums like Mother of Virtues, but the darker, more abstract kind of death metal which is de rigeur currently, and embodied by bands like Altars, Baring Teeth or the revitalised Gorguts.

It begins with freeform cacophony, a sort of brutal free jazz vibe, accentuated by what sounds like a saxophone screeching over the top (thoughts of the more violent parts of Shining’s Blackjazz album spring to mind). This cacophony takes a very loose kind of shape, with blast beats and blackened riffs clawing around feverishly for some kind of form, before a sudden, vertiginous drop into quiet ambiance (quite typical). Often, the guitars swirl around in a kind of indecipherable violence; tracks like Opposing Holiness, or the horrifying epic Krokodil almost channel Portal, in this respect. The title of Black Psychedelia makes it sound like a manifesto statement, and sounds like one also: madly twanging bass, frenetic guitar scratching, before a gibbering lead solo from Mr Goddessraper threatens to push things over the edge.

At other times, things are a bit less freeform. Certain tracks- Dead Heaven or Twins, for instance- bear a very strong resemblance to something we might find on Obscura. The piss-taking jazz break in the middle of Opposing Holiness reminds me of Once Was Not-era Cryptopsy, or Cephalic Carnage. A lot of the album’s character comes from the atmospheric little twists that are strewn liberally throughout it. The spooky choral interludes of Celestial War Rape, for example, or the sarcastic church bells of Vatican Lust. This is all topped, however, by the obtuse closer Metropolis, a slab of what sounds like bona fide free improv, as if someone like Cecil Taylor had just walked into the room. While there is no shortage of bands pushing black/death metal in these kinds of directions, It is the freakish collision of all these various elements that makes Abyssal Gods a lot of fun to listen to.

Killing Songs :
Black Psychedelia, Krokodil
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Imperial Triumphant that we have reviewed:
Imperial Triumphant - Vile Luxury reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Imperial Triumphant - Goliath (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:24 am
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