Brace yourselves hardy travellers; intergalactic, frost-ravaged black metallers Imperialist are here to redefine your black metal-lovin’ state of mind!
Hailing from California, Imperialist aren’t your usual blackened bunch and after moody, semi-ominous, intro “Continuum” launches you into the outer reaches of space, you’d be forgiven for assuming that a Pestilence-esque exercise in progressive death metal awaits.
Cipher is an album that lives and dies by its sinewy, icy riffs, rasped vocals and bitterly melodic black metal bluster. There’s also a little thrashiness thrown in for good measure, which adds to the overall flavour of penetrable black metal built on the foundation of appealing songs.
That’s right, songs! Fucking brilliant songs which never once betray black metal’s singular vision but do reach for the stars (metaphorically and literally). Basically, take Vektor (and their themes in particular) and douse liberally with the pioneering work of Dissection and you’ll arrive, happily, at the distant planet occupied by Imperialist.
Ably filling the void with the sounds of discovery, it’s the transcendental likes of “Splendour Beneath An Ancient Perma” and “The Singularty” which point to a future filled with promise and, with Cipher, Imperialist have delivered a black metal debut of supreme celestial talent; overflowing with ideas and executed with style. Throw in a particularly appealing, science-fi-themed narrative and you’re onto an absolute winner! 8/10
Cipher (Black Metal)
BY: IMPERIALIST (US)
LABEL: Transcending Obscurity Records
RELEASE: 20 October 2018