Band – Imperial Triumphant
Album – Alphaville
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Avant Garde Black Metal
Release Date – July 31, 2020
Label – Century Media Records
Author – Hayduke X
Full disclosure: this review has been a really tough one to write. I’ve been a fan of the band for quite some time. My review of Vile Luxury remains one of my favorite pieces of my own writing, and that came about through the inspiration I received in listening to that album. In other words, in patting myself on the back, I’m really intending to bring to light how strongly the album moved me. It’s still an amazing release, one of my favorite pieces of dissonant, avant garde madness. Sadly, I do not find myself similarly inspired by Alphaville, though it is, no doubt, also an exceptional album. If that seems contradictory, then you may be getting to the heart of my difficulties in writing this review.
Let’s start with what I like about the album. Alphaville is one of the most labyrinthine listens I have ever experienced. There are parts of this album that twist and turn me around so much, I don’t know which way is up. The journey is hard left turns, sharp corners, and sudden plummets into murky darkness…with jazz interludes. Of course, you could make a legitimate claim that the whole album is jazz (free jazz? avant garde jazz? both?) played with instrumentation and tones typically reserved for metal. Dissonance and disorientation hold sway. In addition, the New York trio cover Experiment by Voivod, who are (in my opinion) the greatest Canadian band of all time, and do an admirable job. Objectively speaking, the nine tracks found here are everything I could have asked for.
Subjectively, Alphaville doesn’t hit me or stay with me the way past releases have, and because it’s subjective, I’m not sure I can nail down why. Here’s my working theory: The album is such a labyrinth that my brain hasn’t caught up to it yet. I like difficult music and I think the payoff for letting a difficult album have the time necessary to gel with you is often worth it. This release will be one that stays in my rotation in the hopes that it will click, but to this point, it has not. I would recommend it to any that also enjoy difficult music. Join me in this journey. Surely, by now, Imperial Triumphant have earned that time and effort on our part.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. Beginning in 2018, he also began writing for VM Metal Underground. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.