Imperial Triumphant – Spirit of Ecstasy (Review)

Imperial Triumphant - Spirit of EcstasyThis is the fifth album from US avant-garde black/death metal band Imperial Triumphant.

After 2020’s Alphaville, any Imperial Triumphant release is going to be much-anticipated, and now we have it; 55 minutes of new material in the form of the warped, mutating Spirit of Ecstasy.

The sound of Spirit of Ecstasy is a cinematic one that blends idiosyncratic elements of jazz, black metal, death metal, and experimental sounds and textures. The band’s sumptuous avant-garde atmospheres are esoteric and mysterious, and their music is unorthodox and obscure. Lavishly decadent and enigmatic in its secrets, this album is the sound of chaos and order colliding to create something other.

The band’s multifaceted sound is just as unpredictable and as expansive as it normally is, only with the caveat that normality is not really a word you’d closely associate with Imperial Triumphant. The music is atypical and full of twisted personality, yet never goes so far off the rails as to become lost in its own intricacies.

Spirit of Ecstasy is an exploratory journey into a landscape both familiar and alien. The band are highly adept at creating mesmerising soundscapes of unusual music that may contain recognisable moving parts, but nonetheless is as close to a unique experience as you can get within the metal genre. An array of guests add their own flavour to the mayhem, and they’re artfully subsumed into the band’s creative vision seamlessly.

This is a dissonant, experimental extreme metal album of the highest quality. It’s probably the band’s most atmospheric and immersive release, and it’s one that has so much to explore that you’ll probably keep finding new things to marvel at years from now.

What can I say? It’s Imperial Triumphant. Essential listening.

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