Tech Death Thursday: Imperium – Titanomachy
Imperium are waging war on the Titans, and we’re getting caught in the middle. Behold the Titanomachy.
I bring news from the front:
- Wired Anxiety have a nasty new song up here; check it out if you need some brutal death with a bit of tech and a bit of melody. The Delirium of Negation will be out on July 1st.
- Tech Death Thursday veterans Perihelion have a new pre-production, presumably leading into a new album sometime this year. You can listen to it here, and I encourage you to do so; I’m enjoying it far more than their debut, which never quite clicked with me.
- Indonesian tech death group Komponen Neraka just released a new video for their song “Kudeta Endomorphic.” This album completely slipped by me when it came out in February, but I’m digging what I’ve heard of it so far. Fans of more over-the-top groups (Archspire, Vimana, etc.) shouldn’t skip this.
- More new music from Archaic Decapitator is always a good thing, and this new track is no exception. Listen to “Cult of Reanimators” right here.
- Onomasy have released their sophomore album, Ashes and Dust. It’s pretty archetypal tech death, but still headbangable.
- Revocation have a new album on the way in July and a new song right now. Check out “Communion” from Great Is Our Sin so you can wait and suffer with me.
- Apparently it’s really easy to find talented musicians in France; Lost Soul already has a new lineup, though they haven’t announced who yet. My money’s on the Grossmann/Münzner/Klausenitzer trio. They already play in literally every other band on the planet, so what’s one more?
Imperium’s 2012 debut, Sacramentum, was pretty damn good. It was incredibly fast and heavy, with vicious roaring vocals and leads that sounded like they were on the verge of careening out of control. The band took the Fleshgod Apocalypse “death by speed” approach to their songwriting, but without all the fluff of the latter, resulting in an album that was much more grounded than most bands of their ilk. It was simple, but effective, putting substance over the technical glitz that usually accompanies this style of music.
Very little has changed stylistically since then; Titanomachy follows the same formula as Sacramentum in many respects, which, for the most part, is a good thing. The music is still incredibly violent and head-spinningly fast, but guitarist Mike Alexander has a few new weapons in his songwriting arsenal. Whereas Sacramentum was built on straightforward grinding guitar lines, Titanomachy‘s riffs wind and dart around chaotically with occasional blackened triads that punctuate the action. New frontman Doug Anderson, while not delivering his lines as savagely as the previous vocalist, is much more versatile and has a satisfying crunch to his voice. The drums are a lot more interesting on this go around as well, venturing off into their own territory instead of simply following the guitar the whole time.
The production has improved over Sacramentum as well. Although it’s certainly more brickwalled than its predecessor, the overall sound on Titanomachy has a lot more body. The guitars don’t sound so muddy in the low range anymore, and everything fits into the mix much better. I could even hear the bass through my crappy speakers, providing much-needed support to the low end and improving the listening experience in general.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and this album is no exception. While the new guitar tricks are a welcome addition, the songs are overly reliant upon them. Yes, that spiraling descent through the Phrygian dominant scale is really cool and very impressive, but it loses its impact when you’ve heard ten variations of it in as many songs. There’s not a whole lot of variety in the song structure, either; everything follows the same path and is played largely at the same tempo. Fortunately, neither the album nor the individual songs are terribly long, so it ends before it becomes too tiresome. What really gets me though is the drums; they’re written better than the previous album, yes, but it’s still too obvious that they’re programmed. It’s not an issue for the most part, but it becomes cringe-worthy when there’s emphasis on the cymbals. I’m not opposed to using canned drums on the final product, but it would be nice if just a bit more care went into making sure they didn’t sound like a sample loop.
Though it’s not without its share of problems, Titanomachy is a strong second showing from Imperium. Is it perfect? No. Is it worth a few listens? Absolutely. When it all comes together, Titanomachy lives up to its title and delivers a soundtrack worthy of a battle against the ancient rulers of the world. For that, I give it:
3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Titanomachy is out now and can be found digitally at the Bandcamp link above and on CD right here. If you liked what you heard, go spread our Toilet stank all over their Facebook. As always, my friends,
Do you have a band you would like to see featured? A new release we should keep an eye on? Or maybe you want to do some writing yourself? Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make your voice heard!