Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury (Gilead Media)

Thursday, 5th July 2018
Rating: 9.5/10

When it comes to complete and total mindfuckery, Imperial Triumphant have been sitting at the head of the class for some time (see Abyssal Gods and Inceste). Increasing in their overall creepiness and avant garde approach with each successive release, with Vile Luxury, it feels that the band has finally discovered their true calling. Vile Luxury is a decadent feast of affluence and grandeur corrupted by a seedy underbelly of chaos.

If anything, Vile Luxury steps up the ‘weird’ factor that Imperial Triumphant has increasingly flirted with and lets it run a bit more wild. Sometimes this leads into utter chaos and tension-building despair, complete with unsettling swirls of explosive guitars and crazed screams (“Chernobyl Blues”), and other times it may lead into something much more theatrical, such as “Swarming Opulence,” with it’s almost noir-esque tone and clever use of brass instruments (trumpet/trombone/tuba) to put an excellent twist on the skronky, dissonant death metal tone. “Mother Mach” takes it further and feels like the crossroads of Lovecraft meeting a noir dectective novel, allowing for a trippy intermission before the band unloads the last of their remaining darkness. At other points, it slips into more jazzy territory, as with “Cosmopolis,” which seems to perfectly capture a feeling of high society decadence while still indulging a grizzled and claustrophobic Gorguts-ian tone. A similar vibe is pulled from the aptly-titled “The Filth,” which shifts between bleak and chaotic guitar riffing and noisy soundscapes with eerie atmospheric tones.

What’s quite clear in listening to Vile Luxury is Imperial Triumphant’s ability to evolve and transform. Here they have created an album that shows more of an ability to ‘mature’ and let each moment settle in fully before moving to the next. Yet somehow they have also upped the weird and desolate tones that make them stand out. While some of these changes have made the band’s sound less terrifying in a literal sense, they have embarked on something equally disturbing – an exploration of the corrupting power of wealth in a country of extravagance, and the distortion of reality that becomes apparent through it. Ambitious and forward-thinking, Vile Luxury is well worth a thorough exploration for those who can stomach some madness and bleak atmosphere in their metallic diet.

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