Imperial Triumphant and the filth-ridden and dissonant structures of Abominamentvm (nice use of the kvlt “v” there fellas) writhe under a layer of smoke and a cloak of distinctly European sound. The New York based trio owe a great debt to French masters Deathspell Omega and the presence of that deliciously utter nastiness in both the mysterious DsO and now Imperial Triumphant is as rotten as any corpse, and marvellous with it.
Ilya – guitars/vocals, Malave – bass, Cohen – drums
“Hierophant” introduces this solid debut with a beautifully riven bass line than sinks deep into the subconscious whilst preparing you for the inevitable war to follow. Imperial Triumphant evidently enjoy testing their subjects and tend to pull away from the obvious tactics of black metal and here, instead of going all out straight way, “Hierophant” is a little doomy and deeply unnerving in equal measure. Of course this subtly doesn’t last long and “Manifesto” soon powers forward on the bands signature weird time changes and occasional dip into frighteningly abstract territory- funky bass riff included.
“Crushing the Idol” is a defiantly obtuse track in which Imperial Triumphant’s momentum is unbound and guitars fly with dastardly speed. Ilya’s voice is harsh in approach and his words spiral and consume with an innate hatred whilst the music often sits back into short passages of bizarre construction. This band are beautifully strange and it should be said that their sound is quite their own despite the obvious comparisons to DsO and perhaps Blut Aus Nord at times.
Abominamentvm is fiery and tests the boundaries of what we know as American black metal; there’s no lovely atmosphere here and the unnatural textures and increasing paranoia of “Scaphism” is quite apart from other bands of their generation. Yes, the US has produced some incredible BM bands but nothing that sounds like Imperial Triumphant – America tends to fall on the Cascadian sound or the DSBM side (Xasthur is a fair comparison here) more often than not, and as such Abominamentvm comes across as refreshing – even if it is plain fucking dirty.
“Bellvm” closes Abominamentvm with the promise of war. Air raid sirens call across the wasteland and Ilya’s vocal takes on a deeply disturbing and low quality which rolls over the steadily moving wails of guitar behind. Scratches of defiling noise crescendo until it’s almost too difficult to handle. Imperial Triumphant have conquered. Be warned.