Triumphant – Herald the Unsung (Cyclone Empire)

Thursday, 13th March 2014
Rating: 9.5/10

It can be awfully annoying, scandalous, and insulting when bands drastically change the line-up and completely alter the music styles of a band, but that’s precisely why Austria’s Manic Disease changed their name to Triumphant. And what an outstanding debut they put out! Triumphant captured many spirits ranging from those of classic heavy metal to traditional black metal with attributes of thrash, and they absolutely triumph in iron-strong designs of blackened thrashy heavy death metal in Herald the Unsung.

Herald the Unsung is a frenzy of nine hostile songs in an uproar of slaughtering heaviness, the tremendous force and annihilating power exerted in them is of topnotch excellence. Triumphant blend subgenres with a general focus on one or another in varied songs. “Zivot Ispod Obrnutog Krsta” and “Triumphant,” for example, lean toward heavy/death metal. “Nachzehrer,” on the other end, delivers the raw savageries of black metal. The two ill-omened intros, “Triumfator” and “Nightfall,” have an atmospheric essence. In “Devotion,” when Bekim Leatherdemon cries “and so my spirit fades, again my soul gets a little colder,” you may feel your own spirit fade into submission to the sounds of Triumphant as your soul grows pleasurably colder venturing deeper into their hefty darkness.

The cover art is a gorgeous relic, a restored print of the oil-on-canvas painting titled “Triumfátor” (1916) by Josef Mandl (1874-1933), very appealing in rendering an ancient horror legend – the angel of death or the grim reaper. The black-winged skeleton wears the reaper’s black cloak and has a scythe set by his side, his horse stands behind him nearby a corpse lying on the barren ground.  Death, the “Triumfátor,” is shown dipping his boney fingers into a creek or pond, presumably washing the bloodshed from his hands while looking back at the warscene and grinning at the massacre.

The pseudonyms that identify the members of Triumphant fit all too well with their music. Bekim Leatherdemon – lead vocalist; Persekutor – lead guitar/additional vocals; Doomed Desolator – bass/additional vocals; Altar Crusher – drums; Ephemer – second guitar. These exulted warlords of metal are freaking diabolical, fantastic, and truly triumfátors.

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