Release DetailsLABEL Retribute Records
RELEASED ON 5/20/2003
posted on 10/2003 By:
Yes, 95% of death metal is generic and unoriginal, but when done well it still makes for a satisfying listen. Imperious are one of the new Swedish acts shedding the melodic reputation of their homeland and like Insision, Deranged, and Soils of Fate, are unleashing a furious barrage of unbridled aggression in the form of the excellent “In Splendour”. Though not ranking particularly high on the originality scale (what is nowadays?), Imperious, blast, chug, churn and roar through eleven tracks of tightly structured technical brutality that show Sweden isn’t just about dual harmonies or In Flames worship. It's littered with all the trademarks of quality death metal, a rigid rhythm section with a stout bottom end, shredding guitars and guttural growled vocals. However, Imperious sound immediately European, as their defining sound is far more paced and chunky than their speed obsessed US counterparts, I doubt you’d hear the controlled rumble of “Kingdom of Deceit” on a Deeds of Flesh or Hate Eternal album. By the same token Imperious are more than capable of ripping your face off, but without reliance on staccato high end fret board work, instead relying on simple mid range riffs, that to me are infinitely more enjoyable. However, the slower more menacing moments are more up my alley, as they create far more ominous moods, rather than the blasting I can get from about 75% of the other albums in my collection. The massive lumber of “Impaled”, is a true chug-fest that simply oozes atmosphere (especially within its last two-minutes) within its crawling pace, and as result is far more memorable than the albums competent if repetitive faster material. That’s not to say that the all out assault of “Fall Below”, “God Lied”, or “One With Nothingness” were badly done, far from it. For whatever reason, I still find Euro death, even when cranked out at high speed has far more depth and impact than their US counterparts any day. I’ll take Iniquity or Imperious over Fleshgrind or Vile anyday, they just seem to have such subtle texture within their sound that makes more of a lasting impression, even if ever so brief. As to be expected, the production is perfect, with a fine balance between bottom end rumble and crystalline precision that delivers Imperious’s fine tuned savagery with brutal clarity. On the downside though, the vocals are run of the mill, as guitarists Johan and Emil alternate deep growl and high end scream, that seems to be common place now, but then again this is death metal; how much can you do with the vocals? Then of course there’s the simple fact, that despite its tight execution and above par song writing this is still just brutal death metal. Chances are you have plenty of this already in your collection, so yet another addition of this style would have to be something rather special to warrant a purchase, and honestly Imperious bring nothing new to the table regardless of its quality. “In Splendour” is a lot better than some of the stuff out there right now, and certainly is a quality death metal album, but it's essentially trying to fill a void that is pretty much full.
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