Imperial Triumphant is releasing their upcoming album “Spirit Of Ecstasy” next Friday July 22nd and insanely lucky to have heard the album ahead of time. The band continues to defy music with a ton of influence in many ways (similar to Primus in that aspect) better known by their band name, rather than a genre. They have so many sounds they’re more than a black metal band, a proggy band, an avant garde band or even a jazzy band. The fact Kenny G made an apperance as a guest on “Spirit Of Ecstasy” says a lot. There’s plenty of notable musicians on the album featuring Snake from Voivod, Alex Skolnick of Testament, Percy Jones and even more on their laundry list of guest features. They’re definitely not for everyone but I’m unusual, and the band has been composing music that is rather different to say the least.

The last album “Alphaville”” was a hit with me between the artwork and music, it all came together for me. Thomas from Meshuggah had a guest drum solo on some wild exotic African or Asian (I forgot from where, I’m doing this off the top of my head cut me some slack) drum on one song. Another song featured a barber shop quartet so I’m curious to see where more twists and turns occur. Zachary Ezrin has a side project Folterkammer that is operatic black metal with singing by a female (which totally adds to the dynamic and a cool album to check out trust me).

Now to talk about the actual album, it gets even weirder with random guitar solos here and there with some piano and keys at random points. It’s all growled (not brutal death metal growls but tamed mid range growls) and Ezrin’s voice still is the perfect touch on another unusually stellar piece by the trio. Each song is also 5-8 minutes long, and at 8 tracks is around the 50ish minute mark. Knowing the band (if you know them already) it’s’ a dense piece of music and you might not catch stuff the first time around. It’s going to take a few listens, so you need to classically immerse yourself in the album to fully understand it, if you know what I mean. It’s definitely equally as “out there” as Alphaville was and is another respectable effort by the band to add to their vast library of music.

The album cover is really cool without a doubt. It’s really creepy and beautiful at the same time which can be said of their music as well. I just have a huge soft spot for the artwork of “Alphaville” as it still blows my mind and for their album covers is tough to beat. Music aside I still think Alphaville is their best cover so far, but don’t downplay the art for “Spirit Of Ecstasy”. Musically speaking they are still the same band but keep pushing boundaries with more rhythm changes and spontaneity. It’s still heavy, operatic and yet still surprise you after all these years. I understand some people like music with a purpose and direction, but I think it’s cool to change it up with something out of left field like Imperial Triumphant. Each album they’ve improved somehow whether its songwriting, trying new musical ideas or even cooler artwork but as previously stated they’re always pushing boundaries. They always have sounded fresh and different, which is a breath of fresh air for extreme metal.

Overall I enjoyed this album a lot *almost* on the same level as Alphaville. That art of Alphaville just compliments the music perfectly and is a really cool homage to their home of New York. It has a lot of cool twists and turns that I don’t’ want to spoil on our album review, so I’ll leave that up to your ears when it’s released. Between the 3 singles fans of the band are in for a really weird ride as expected. If you like traditionally organized and structured music, I highly advise you stay away from this band let alone this album. The track “In The Presence Of Their Company” heavily supports that claim and unusual style. The following track “Bezumnaya” is just as weird and the single “Maximalist Scream” closes out the album (that song has a guest vocal spot from Snake of Voivod). Imperial Triumphant has risen to the point to where they are extreme metal’s King Crimson which isn’t a bad thing in my book.

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