Imperial Triumphant Push the Avant-Metal Envelope on 'Alphaville'

Imperial Triumphant Push the Avant-Metal Envelope on 'Alphaville'
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In a lineage of strange, complex and devastating metal, Imperial Triumphant continue to stand out. Since the New York outfit's beginning, they've architected boldly dark and beautiful worlds that crashed, cracked and crumbled under brooding tensions and human ruin. Imperial Triumphant's newest release, Alphaville, finds the band once again expanding their momentous metropolitan jungle into new, thrilling forms.

"Rotted Futures" opens the album with ominous tones that build into a clamorous wall before dropping into a demented groove with burly bass and sparkling notes. "Excelsior" starts like energized freeform jazz before being thrown into a whirlwind of buzzing guitar and off-kilter drumming, and, like most tracks on the album, goes through several transitions before the song's end. "Transmission to Mercury" opens with mournful piano and trombone before going through a meat grinder of blast beats, guttural growls and spinning guitars. Choral vocals and horns fill the song's midsection before distant manic screams are wrapped by strangling guitars as the song fades into brief oblivion. The band's masterful ability to cohesively and orchestrally meld dissonance and aggression with jazz and weirdness is uncanny. This ability is present throughout Alphaville, but "Atomic Age" and the title track, its longest songs, find the band showcasing it in full force.

Alphaville is one of the year's darkest and most deranged collections of avant-garde metal, a surreal dystopian nightmare that is both terrifying and entrancing. Exploration of this world finds unexpected rewards around every twist and turn, in a beautifully jarring and perverse aural realm. (Century Media)