July 29, 2022 Imperial Triumphant – Spirit Of Ecstasy (Album Review)
Hailing from New York City, the trio known as Imperial Triumphant have created a divide over the past few years among Metal and critics alike. Why? Because they are unique! Formed in 2005, the band – Zachary Ilya Ezrin (vocals, guitars), Steve Blanco (bass, vocals, keys, theremin) and Kenny Grohowski (drums) – has substantially changed their style over the years, but the best way to descript what they do is an eccentric mix of Avant Garde and Experimental Metal. Truly not like any other, they really hit listeners hard in 2018 with their album Vile Luxury, again in 2020 with Alphaville, but now look to take things to a new level with their latest album Spirit of Ecstasy.
Released on Friday, July 22, 2022 via Century Media Records, Spirit of Ecstasy marks the band’s fifth studio album and consists of eight relatively wild, length tracks. A trippy journey, “Chump Change” enters the fold with a drum sound that could be mistaken for something from a Van Halen record, yet when the full band enters, a whole new direction unfolds. Quite the opening track, an onslaught of oddity reveals themselves that is really difficult to explain in words. The best way to put it would be Blackened Death Metal meshed with Jazz bass lines. It is fair to say this would have more of an impact in a live setting, but it is truly different nonetheless. Then nearly five minutes in it unfolds to a lounge Jazz feel before breaking into a guitar solo and nothing short of controlled chaos.
Speaking of such chaos, “Metrovertigo” enters with less of a Jazz theme but more of a Metal one before “Tower of Glory, City of Shame” boasts a grandiose orchestral intro that could be a sample
from a classic movie. The latter, the most tasteful track thus far, blast beats and jazz bass provide a solid foundation while a female vocal haunt the atmosphere. By Imperial Triumphant standards, this is really a more chilled out composition.
All the aforementioned peaks and valleys in mind, it still seems the spark or the crème of this album has yet to arrive. For example, you have “Merkurius Gilded” which features Jazz saxophonist legend Kenny G and Max Gorelick; an interesting and flamboyant collaboration. Here bittersweet violin sections enter upon the intro before the onslaught of Avant-garde Metal styling unfolds yet again. In truth, it is a very challenging sound that is difficult to put into words, although, compelling in sections. By the way, the accompanying music video also features Kenny G and displays a mixed mash of conflicting themes. Later on other standouts include the more straightforward “Death on a Highway” and crazy closer featuring vocals from Voivod’s Denis “Snake” Bélanger, “Maximalist Scream.”
Overall, Spirit of Ecstasy is a strong collection of songs that deserves praise for its far out sound. Going in you have to bear in mind that Imperial Triumphant style is far out and different. Honestly, to truly appreciate the experimentation of Imperial Triumphant you have to witness them in a live setting. Very challenging to listen to and not for every Metal fan, Cryptic Rock gives Spirit of Ecstasy 4 out of 5 stars.