Album Review: Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville

“The greatest artists at the moment are the ones bringing new elements into their respective genres” is a phrase that you’ll no doubt have seen or heard recently. Whilst some may say there is something for consistently putting out the same material strongly, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, there is something to be said for bands that are forever pushing the envelope. And that’s where Imperial Triumphant come in with their brand new album Alphaville that continues to push the boundaries of this genre we call ‘metal’.

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Right from the first notes of “Rotted Futures”, the band states they are not afraid to change things up whilst retaining a molten-metal core. Dissonant guitar melodies, harsh vocals and highly impressive drum patterns dominate a track that only serves to get better as time goes on. “Excelsior” follows with a highly impressive bass guitar intro which flows into the chaos that follows. A sample of a New York subway station is included, to give you an idea of how crazy this gets.

The first of many guests makes an appearance on “City Swine” in the taiko drum break, which actually fits surprisingly well into the track. Tomas Haake’s syncopated rhythms along with the other band members’ make for a rather interesting interlude to the track before the madness begins once again. The ending radio static leads perfectly into following track “Atomic Age” which opens with a perfect barbershop style verse before the dissonance begins once again. This dissonance is broken up however by a stringed section in the middle which bridges the two halves of the song perfectly.

The music keeps on being interesting with the addition of a brass section in “Transmission To Mercury” further fuelling the atonal monstrosity. The musical aspects of the song still work however and serve to create an interesting, yet haunting track. This mood continues in the following track “Alphaville” with the backing instruments creating an eerie horror movie vibe to go along with the dissonance and atonality. It’s something which, while haunting, is equally intriguing and captures the attention.

Rounding out the album, “The Greater Good” and the two covers (of Voivod and The Residents tracks) continue the madness that has come before. The former is very much in line with the rest of the album’s craziness and dissonance and the same can be said of the covers as well. Unlike some bands when they cover, the trio has put their own mark on the tracks and, in many ways, have truly made them their own. Whether that’s a good or bad thing however, is up to the listener to decide.

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It’s difficult to say that this album is anything but organised chaos. There are moments where it may feel as though the music is about to fall off the rails and collapse, but it manages to stay upright and retain some form of order. Which, given the multitude of various samples, instruments and constantly shifting timbres is nothing short of impressive. Alphaville is not your run of the mill album that you can just place on for a quick listen. It demands your attention, challenges you and will no doubt change your opinion on what is and is not music.

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