It typically takes me a few listens to find out whether or not (or how much) I enjoy a particular piece of music. Many times have I been bitten by the newness bug, only to be let down considerably on repeated listens. My initial reaction to Imperialist’s new track “Advent Anathema” was one of abject enthusiasm, so naturally my defenses rose considerably given my history with overly positive first impressions. As I dove into my second listen, then my third, nothing changed. Imperialist are the real deal, thanks mostly to the fantastic songwriting contained on this track, which we are elated to premiere for you exclusively on Heavy Blog! If you like science fiction-infused metal, prepare yourself for vaporization. There’s good stuff to be found here.
With only one EP under their belt (2015’s Quantum Annexation), the California quartet unleash their debut record Cipher as relative unknowns in an already overcrowded subgenre. That won’t remain the case for long. Drawing influence from acts like Necrophobic and early Dissection, “Advent Anathema” unfolds as a dizzying, melody-soaked black metal extravaganza that reveals a band much more seasoned than its years in existence would indicate. This track is thoughtfully and carefully composed, wrapping itself around a main riff in easily digestible yet compelling ways. Equally impressive is the band’s blending of metal styles, presenting a track that feels both classic and fresh, pulling musical cues from its influences while adding a more modern flair all its own, particularly through the incorporation of some thrash embellishments. The thundering, spacious production (particularly in regards to the rhythm section) lends the track a musical space that matches its space-based concept and stunning cover art, created by the incomparable Adam Burke (Vektor, Lurk, Loss, etc.). It’s the complete package, and one that shouldn’t be missed by fans of black metal new and old.
I’m a sucker for a good concept record, but thankfully with “Advent Anathema” Imperialist present us with something much more compelling than that. It’s a technically sound, melodically rich excursion into the far recesses of black metal that should be enjoyed by fans of the subgenre’s more melodic and expansive sides. In a year where Transcending Obscurity Records has unleashed an insurmountable amount of quality records, Imperialist may have the label’s most thoroughly enjoyable release yet. An impressive offering. Look for Cipher on October 20th, and pre-order it on the band’s Bandcamp page.