Published Jul 13, 2018For Imperial Triumphant, their New York City hometown is the black heart at the centre of their craft, one that reflects the metropolitan expanse through a sonic lens of disgust and horror at the putridity that lurks behind a facade of grandeur.
"We're more of a concept band," bassist/pianist Steve Blanco tells Exclaim! "[New York] is very natural to us. This is what we talk about. The darkness of the urban apex of civilization, transference of power. We love a lot of Norwegian black metal, but we're not from the fjords of Norway, so if we write about that, it's not who we are. Those cats can do that, and they do it really well. We're from New York — that's our fjords."
The band's third full-length, Vile Luxury, provides a deeper and more vivid dive into their deranged vision than ever before, painting with shades of music ranging from blackened death metal to classic jazz.
"We're trying to build a world, conceptually, because that's what people are really drawn into," says singer and guitarist Zachary Ilya Ezrin. "More than just the music, they want to get to know everything about this band, the imagery, and we provide a pretty solid package."
More than most bands, Imperial's aesthetic is consistent throughout every facet of their output. From the music to the masked, robed enigmas they embody on stage and in music videos, there is a consistency of vision.
"You want to represent your music visually when you perform live, and as our music is involved, so is our stage costume. It's important that you put on a good show, you give a shit, and make it a memorable experience. Next time you're on tour, they'll want to go again," Ezrin explains. "I don't think of myself as just a guitar player, because that's not what I'm exclusively passionate about. From merch to album art, everything's a chance to make a statement and build something bigger."
The visuals that Imperial Triumphant employ make them immediately stand out from the masses of satanic goat worship and gore obsession, instead opting for something borne out of Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis, in its lavish retro-futurist style.
Imperial Triumphant's sound has gestated over their career to become ever more bizarre, but on Vile Luxury, the band have gone further in both technicality and the forging of an atmosphere.
"A lot in this record, we had ideas for what the song was about before it was even written," Ezrin reveals. "For instance, 'Lower World' is all about the lower class and the homeless, these people that just grind their lives away, so we were like, let's write a song that's extremely machine-like, because to us all these people are just gears."
Vile Luxury is out now on Gilead Media.