Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville
6d ago
85
Whoa. That's really all I need to say, but I will say more.

The suspense and tension this album really builds over its incredibly chaotic nine-track lineup is almost akin to watching a good 40's noir film where the characters engage in a cat-and-mouse game. Rather than just leave it at that, however, Alphaville and Imperial Triumphant build up the world behind this game, showing the seedy surroundings and shady tormented background characters that show the world of the city in the dark behind the lights, unfortunately bleak and thrown into disarray.

Now, given that that the extreme metal (styles of black and death metal, to be more specific) does this alone, as does the title and the detailed cover art, I have to wonder if the jazz was even necessary to make this point. However... this album is so much better with the jazz elements!!

Listen to the smoky, forlorn and dark sax-driven intro of "Transmission to Mercury" and try to tell me it doesn't make the atonal rush of guitars and manic drums feel more potent, raw, invigorating. Every odd time signature change of this song (as well as the entire album) feels like you're speedily turning down a street of New York, each with its own murky and yet inviting world of sounds, ideas, and mental images.

To put it short, it's like on this album, Imperial Triumphant brings up the world of the broken, the blighted and the deserted and gives it a new life entirely, showing that the raw black-metal of the underground can be just as potent and sophisticated as the high-life jazz of the world of luxury and of the elites. That alone makes this one of the most intriguing and gratifying releases of the year.
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