Nowadays whenever we look at space and black metal coming together, the majority of the time it’s being embodied by some atmospheric or cosmic black metal act like Mesarthim. But what if we simply explored the vacuum without getting too atmospheric and instead went with some always classy, vicious black metal with a tinge of thrash for good measure? Imperialist envisioned just that, and did no less than completely nail it with their debut full-length!
Coming into your first full-length with naught but an EP to call your own is an incredibly brave leap for any band, but to say that Imperialist was more than up to the task and did everything possible phenomenally well would be an insult upon the glory that is “Cipher”! The void of space with its pockets of beauty as well as cataclysmic might is a fitting place for the chaos of Imperialist’s vicious style to take place as we’re treating to equal amounts of fiery aggression mixed with plenty of flavorful melodies coupled with fabulously executed thrash in the background. The wonder that are the nine tracks of “Cipher” could be encapsulated within the unbelievably epic saga that is the birth of a planet, the multi-faceted infection across its rocks that is life, the carnage that the very atmosphere reigns upon the denizens, and the harrowing rendering of the planet by a black hole. Imperialist does more than just conjure these images to might immediately as they know exactly how to make black metal feel ripe and fresh yet again for those of us that have just really been craving something interesting that we can sink our teeth into without having to think about it. In its entirety, “Cipher” flawlessly nails everything from the crispy instrumentation to the beautifully depicted theme with its cathedral ceiling painting-esque levels of grandeur to the melodies that know only how to reel you into before Imperialist vaporizes every single one of your atoms before your brain registers its demise.
I mean it in the best sense when I say that Imperialist has delivered to me something that I’ve been desiring every since the last new piece of material from Mare Cognitum: brilliant black metal that takes advantage of the harrowing yet astonishing experience that is the vacuum of space. From top to bottom, “Cipher” is easily one of the most memorable albums that I’ve come across this year, and I will happily bet that this American quartet has a grand future ahead of them.
“Cipher” releases on October 20th via Transcending Obscurity Records!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Cipher” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Imperialist on Facebook here.