REVIEW: IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT – “Spirit Of Ecstasy”
Imperial Triumphant may have gotten their breakthrough via their popular 2018 album ‘Vile Luxury’, but their equally groundbreaking release ‘Abyssal Gods’ in 2015 was the defining album for the band, and it shaped the path for their eventual rightful place of being one of the forefronts of modern avant-garde extreme metal bands. While sundry other bands in the ‘dissonant extreme metal’ space emulated stalwarts like Gorguts or Deathspell Omega, Imperial Triumphant carved out a sound of their own with that album. That sound carefully evolved with their next couple of albums. Imperial Triumphant returns with “Spirit of Ecstasy” and will be released on Century Media on 22nd July 2022.
Like their previous couple of albums, ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ sees the band collaborate with several guest musicians like Kenny G, Snake (Voivod), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Trey Spruance (Mr. Bungle), among others. Imperial Triumphant continues on the thematics of urban opulence and decadence, of the absolute brutality of capitalist machinery, of the cruelty of the parasitic ‘relationship’ between the elite and the rest, of the sheer audacity of not maintaining even the facade of coexistence. Here lies the graveyard of human civilization, for humanity for all sakes except the physical is extinct.
Sonically, Imperial Triumphant continues on by constructing complex structures of dissonance, avant-garde, jazz, classical, industrial, and ambient, among other things. ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ excels in holding tension and a state of discomfort, never a breath of safety within reach. There’s something I love about every track on this album. Since I mentioned Voivod, the first, and final tracks are the most reminiscent of the Voivod riffs and sound, while also Snake from Voivod contributes guest vocals for the final track. Several tracks have these sections that instigate a sense of Lynchian swirling, of delusion and phantasmagoria, of delirium caused by abundance. Sometimes amidst this demented haze, the air clears to what seems like a way out, but is only a mirage, before the haze returns to suffocate again. The jazz sections are beautiful chaos, and the black metal sections lack hope. The consolidation of operatic vocals, screams, and shouts across the album works very well. The track “In The Pleasure of Their Company” is such a fantastic bebop fusion piece that I spent a lot of time with.
Imperial Triumphant surpass their previous release by a margin with the lavish monument that is ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’. There is almost always something to find with every repeated listen to this spectacular album. The feeling of reprehensible morality and helplessness stays with you. The band has finally found their elixir.