Imperial Triumphant’s Inceste EP: A Brief Summation

Imperial Triumphant is hardly the first heavy metal act to be inspired by the writings of the infamous Marquis De Sade, but they’ve gone full libertine for the release of their Inceste EP.

Imperial Triumphant have been riding a wave of critical acclaim since the release of 2015’s Abyssal Gods, which made a host of critics’ top lists from last year. They’ve even been called “… one of the most important U.S. black metal acts currently active” at No Clean Singing. Not content to rest on their laurels after the success of last year, the band quickly recorded their followup, which continues down the same path of blackened dissonant death metal established on Abyssal Gods. Inceste (you guessed it, “incest” in English) manages to become an even stranger animal than its predecessor, remarkable given the much briefer runtime.

“Dead Heaven” from 2015’s Abyssal Gods

imperialtriumphantinceste

Imperial Triumphant | Inceste | Redefining Darkness Records | April 15th, 2016

I’ve already called into question the veracity of Imperial Triumphant as a black metal band on this site (more than once, actually). If you’re here today looking for archetypal black metal, you may be disappointed. I will concede today, however, that Inceste conjures a feeling of black metal, without staying within those parameters precisely. It’s reminiscent of much of the work of Dutch noisemaker Gnaw Their Tongues, whose horrific soundscapes instill the listener with their brand of nightmarish dread. Writing this, I am torn on the band’s dedication to sadist imagery, as to whether or not they successfully utilize it without attempting to be edgy or controversial. The title, Inceste is splashed on a cover of a nude and submissive human. The track titles run the gauntlet of Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom: “Libertine” (the intro), “Kaleidoscopic Orgies,” “Oblivion in Morsels” (I have a good idea what they mean), and “Breath of Innocence” (which was also the advance track for this EP). I’m interested in your perspective on this, dear readers. If Imperial Triumphant was a lesser band, it’s likely I would comically write these themes off as edgy; as it stands, the music on Inceste grants them a considerable amount of wiggle room.

Inceste’s intro “Libertine” is a creepy call for Sade’s revolution, forgoing metal for understated classic instruments and a monologue in French. The album’s first proper track “Kaleidoscopic Orgies” is the successor to “Dead Heaven” (above), and follows suit with a mechanical dissonant stomp. The angular riffs it opens with have less in common with guitars and more in common with power machinery. Chaotic fills backbone the track until it stops abruptly over a minute in, leaving only subtle drumming and bird noises until the violence resumes again. “Kaleidoscopic Orgies” repeats this pattern, becoming even more off-kilter as it progresses, underneath deep bellows from Ilya, Imperial Triumphant’s architect, guitarist, and chief vocalist.

The next two tracks follow suit: bizarre, dissonant metal that gives one the impression it could fall apart at any moment. Imperial Triumphant mixes things up further with a host of collaborators, keyboards, a saxaphone; they end two songs with sounds that could come from an old-time victrola. “Breath of Innocence” uses the same trick as “Kaleidoscopic Orgies,” delving into free form excursions during a break from its chaos.

Imperial Triumphant might not win over any converts with Inceste, with its taboo subject matter and genre-bending approach to extreme metal. If you love Deathspell Omega’s most recent material, or the idea of Gorguts taking the Left-Hand Path after birthing skronk in extreme metal in 1998, chances are you’ll dig this EP. If you loved Abyssal Gods (like I did), Inceste is more of what you already like about this band. Inceste’s length proves to be one of its drawbacks. It clocks in at twenty minutes of new material, with only three proper songs. Each time I reach the end, left with hammering drums, the splay of ominous noises, and bloodcurdling shouts of some imagined victim, I’m left wanting more, and ponder what Imperial Triumphant could have done by transforming Inceste into a full length album.

4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_4_of_5

Inceste is out this Friday, April 15 on Redefining Darkness Records. Cover image via.

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Published on: April 12, 2016

Filled Under: New Stuff, Reviews

Views: 1253

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  • Nina Osegueda

    Saxophones and metal go together like peanut butter and cheese; weird when you hear about it, but surprisingly satisfying.

    • I had peanut butter stuffed Jalapeno peppers the other week. One of the guys I cycle with made them and they where absolutely phenomenal. Sounds strange, I know.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        They’re really good.

        • Yeah totally man! I’m thinking about finding more recipes that use peanut butter. It is my favorite food. I read something in one of the bicycling magazines I got about a peanut butter pasta. Sounds good and strange as the same time.

          • Dubs

            There’s a place that makes a burger with peanut butter and bananas on it.

          • Wooooah. Need that.

          • Dubs

            If you ever find yourself in Houston, make your way to the Hubcap grill.

          • Killer! I may even try to make this on my own. I’ll have to do some research on what exactly goes into making it.

          • Dubs

            I used peanut butter to make a peanut sauce for chicken one time. It turned out okay. I need to tweak the recipe a bit next time I try it.

          • That sounds amazing man. I think my mother made some kind of almond butter chicken for Christmas last year. I remember it being damn good. Looking forward to doing some research on this stuff. I’m also a sucker for No-bake peanut butter cookies… They are my downfall.

          • Dubs

            I LOVE no-bakes but have never had exclusively peanut butter ones. Must look further.

          • Dude, I can’t even… Ugh. Find some random recipe online and make em. You won’t regret it, well you kinda will 😉

          • Dubs

            You don’t need to tell me twice!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Good for you, too. Ripped up weighlifting bros eat a lot of PB.

          • Been eating a PB&J everyday for about a year now. It’s the perfect running and biking fuel.

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            *meat

            ftfy

          • Stanley

            Dude, just make some of this and throw it on anything. Pasta and grilled chicken is the tits.

            http://shesimmers.com/2009/03/how-to-make-thai-peanut-sauce-my-moms.html

          • Just emailed this to my self. Thanks man.

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        My grandfather special orders jalapeno peanut butter by the case.

        • Damn, I didn’t realize this was such a big thing. I never even heard of it before last week. I need to get the fuck out more.

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            I can’t remember the brand he gets, but its basically like this.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Dude, I love those. So good.

    • Óðinn

      Yakuza: Metal, saxophones, and fucking great.

      https://youtu.be/KX4iVegIO04

      • I saw Full of Hell live at MDF last year and they had a saxophone player. It was weird.

        • Óðinn

          Was it a good weird, or incredibly awkward?

          • Ah, I would have preferred them with out it. It just made everything sound way too cluttered. I thought it was unnecessary, but then again I’m very tradition with my metal tastes.

          • Óðinn

            Fair enough. If it’s not what you’re looking for, it can be off-putting. Or the execution could be off as well.

          • It was off-putting. Everything I’ve heard and seen of them had no saxophone so it was just odd.

          • Óðinn

            It was like the time Taake did a banjo solo for no apparent reason. The first time I heard it, I was like WTF?

          • I can tolerate that. This was different I think, because they were just cloaking all of their original material with a completely new component. Sure, if you have a new song/songs that have sax in it then use it but don’t use it for every song. It felt like they wanted to be Naked City.

          • Óðinn

            Yeah, that is different. Adding a sax in later.

          • It is what it is I guess, I’m not really a Full of Hell fan anyways. I think they were playing some what early on and I figured I’d get a fix of grindy shitz.

          • Óðinn

            Yeah, Grind can be good when you’re in the right mood.

          • I love me some grind!!! It just has to be the right kinda grind. I always found Full of Hell to be more on the hardcore/noise side.

          • Óðinn

            True. They do cross over.

  • COAL ROLL

    some of you guys like really unusual stuff

    • Eliza

      And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    • Hubert

      Metal itself used to be “Really unusual”. Extremity becomes mundane, so bands are searching for new borders.

      • brokensnow

        Its all been done. But variations are neat!

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    I watched the 120 Days in Sodom film once. Once was enough.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I haven’t seen that, but would like to watch it one time. My girlfriend thinks it’s creepy, that I would pursue watching it the once.

      • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

        The film is still fairly shocking despite its age, I’ll give it that. But it’s a long-ass film with shit-tons of scenes showing 3 old Italian dudes raping and killing a bunch of young people. And at one point in the movie, they all eat poop.
        Once was enough.

  • Good review, Ed. While I don’t think I will jam this, I must say that your word choicing and honest writing helps me to understand the harsher aspects of this music. Thanks!

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Jam it, Link. Two of the four songs are available today!

      • Is not a matter of disposition, my endearing friend. Is a matter of not having good connection to listen to anything from the internet 🙁

        I am listening music these weeks through my SD Card because I have Youtube and downloads blocked and the bandwidht very limited at work. I don’t have internet connection at home, so I must depend only on the work connection.

  • Dubs

    I think the question you raise here regarding whether or not the band is just trying to be provocative or whether they’re actually grappling with the Libertine ideas is an important one.

    • I think that these underground bands can appropiate better of these extreme topics with more ease. So, it is very welcome, in my opinion, that Imperial Triumphant is opening black metal to more literary references in their album concepts to view some aspects of our current society.

      I don’t think they’re going only on the provocative route, they are probably exploring the elements they disposed on their previous album; which had a very nightmarish yet urban setting, from what I could heard and what Edward wrote last year.

      I think, also, that bands like this are really invigorating the vanguardist elements of the metal genre, so even if I don’t dig this explicit dissonant style I must say that I’m happy to see how metal evolves with each artistic proposal.

      • Dubs

        That’s a good response, Link. I’m glad you mentioned the urban decay motif of the previous album, as the Libertine ideas seem to be an extrapolation of that as society reaches its moral decay (or freedom, depending on which way you look at it).

        • Thanks, man!

          I think that bands like Pyhrron and Imperial Triumphant are developing a new narrative to consider while approaching the metal aesthethic and lyrical concepts. They are truly mixing the work-class ethic from Punk with the bleak and dark aspects of extreme metal without deviating their music from that.

  • brokensnow

    Reminds me a little of later Starkweather, in how they compose their music.
    https://youtu.be/S1KAht6r4bg

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Starkweather is a band I have only recently dabbled in, but all of the stuff I’ve heard from them I like.

      • brokensnow

        One of the forefathers of metalcore! lolbuttz lel.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I had wondered if they got a bad rap from being a “metalcore” band. I know dudes from Pyrrhon like ’em.

          • brokensnow

            nah, that was when MC was kinda good. They changed super enough to barley be related to it anymore.

  • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

    nice review ed-dawg, not exactly my cup of tea tho

  • Eliza

    I liked what has been released a lot. I look forward to listening to the full album.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    This definitely sounds like something I could get into after a few listens in my very slow descent into skronkification, but it just feels wrong including “black metal” in its genre/description. Feels like part of a larger trend to shoehorn the BM tag into everything lately.

    • Eliza

      Haven’t noticed that trend, but I agree that calling this black metal isn’t very accurate when trying to describe it.

    • brokensnow

      yeah, its not black metal, aside from a few production choices.

    • i like labeling things as black metal so i can at least get bm nerds to listen to it before dismissing it as bullshit.

    • Dubs

      I almost think at this point that a new genre term is needed to capture the really dissonant and avant-garde bands that don’t sit well in either black metal or death metal.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Spot on, exactly what I was thinking. It feels misleading because there’s just not a proper name for the style yet.

      • Hubert

        SKRONK?

      • brokensnow

        seems really bizarre to me. Bands have been making music like this for a minute now. This warrants a new genre?!

        • Dubs

          Well, obviously we have bands like Gorguts, your aforementioned Starkweather, Dodecahedron, Outre, Thantifaxath, etc. While some of them fall neatly into either death metal (Gorguts) or black metal (Outre, to a degree), there are many that don’t.

          • It’s all screamo.

          • brokensnow

            indeed

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Screaming screamo metal music.

          • Dubs

            *screamy

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            *dreamy, i.e. Dubs

          • Been years since I’ve spun Outre. Assuming you are talking about the Portal album “Outre”. Think I’ll listen to that here again.

          • Dubs

            I wasn’t, actually, but it’s a good one. Was referring to this: https://outremetal.bandcamp.com/

          • Ah gotcha, it’s not surprising that a dissonant black metal band would use that as their band name. Surprised it took so long frankly.

          • Dubs

            Outré also means unusual and startling, so it’s a pretty apt descriptor for both the band and the album.

          • Agreed.

          • brokensnow

            BOOM. new genre name.

          • Dubs

            That’s not a half-bad idea.

          • Lacertilian

            I have some Outré news for later in the year.
            Still have to buy their albun from last year to get further into it.

          • brokensnow

            Portal is a great example.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        I actually like what I used in this article as a descriptor for this particular bad: blackened dissonant death metal – despite that generally bloggers overuse the shit out of blackened as a descriptor, like that Sarpanitum album from last year, blackened GTFO

        • Count_Breznak

          Sarpantium is “totally not Mithras, really” – Metal.

        • Spear

          In all fairness, Sarpanitum were describing themselves as “blackened” at the time. Not sure if they still are or not.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Oh – I had no idea!

            I’m pretty sure Imperial Triumphant self-label as black metal…

      • I concur, a black metal tag on a band like this potentially aleinates me from checking it out. Thankfully we have Edward to better explain.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Great minds think alike.

  • Owlswald

    Breath of Innocence = yep. Kaleidoscope Orgies = nope. Given the first track is a monologue, it’s all going to come down to that last remaining track.

  • Hubert

    I don’t think anybody is surprised to learn that I love this shit.

    While listening to Abyssal Gods a whole bunch, I started to realize that it’s actually quite a funny album. As in, some moments are so bizarre and over-the-top that they make me laugh, in a good way. There’s a weird comedic timing to some of the passages that I can’t really explain, but I’m definitely feeling it. Comedic Skronk, somebody get on that.

  • Dat ass tho

    • Dubs

      I’m not sure you’re supposed to like the booty because the booty is rendered in a state of vulnerability and compromise. But maybe you are supposed to like it because you’re a hedonist without moral restraint. Maybe making you decide if you want the booty or not is the intent of the booty.

      • brokensnow

        Gotta love the modern world.

        • Modern circa mid 1700s. These are questions surrounding the libertine ideals of the Marquis de Sade.

          • brokensnow

            Only now spouted by a 17 year old, vegan, pan sexual who thinks asking perplexing or unanswerable questions will get them somewhere in life…..lol.

          • wat

          • brokensnow

            indeed……..(intensifies)

      • I’m a simple man, I see an ass, I like an ass.

        • There’s a nasty Venezuelan saying that would apply over here just for you, señor Bauer, and will not be lost on translation:

          “In war, every hole is a trench”.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Dang, that is a vulgar saying.

          • Just like mr. Bauer 😉

          • Count_Breznak

            We got that arround here, too. With “bunker” instead of “trench”, tho.

          • I’ve always heard the phrase “Any port in a storm”, but I’m no longer sure that we’re all talking about the same thing.

          • ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

          • Where are you located, señor Conde Breznak?

          • Count_Breznak

            Eastern Germany, for the time being.

          • HAIL!

          • Ol Dirty Blastbeard

            UPVOTE

          • Cheez Whiz Kalifa material, isn’t it?

        • can you be our new Dagon? i mean, if he’s gotta be gone.

  • I find their approach to The Skronk too literal.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Too literal?

      • It’s just so textbook skronk it sounds silly to me.

  • brokensnow

    HEY GEYS, WANNA GO LISTEN TO SOME OUTRE` METALZ!!?!1

  • Spear

    Speaking from a musician’s perspective (since I’m not really much for any sort of deep philosophical discussion), it’s possible that the band isn’t espousing libertine ideals or going for shock value. It could just be a matter of them channeling the source material through their music, as the two complement each other very well.

  • Waynecro

    This is an excellent review, man. Thanks!

  • That track on TovH radio from yesterday was interesting. I’ve listened to these guys very little, but the chaos of it all is what appeals to me. Wasn’t expecting the sax to make an appearance and it worked very well.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Its worth noting that Sade was far more prototypical edge-lord than thinker of substance, so using sadistic imagery to be edgy or controversial is quite in keeping.

  • Stockhausen

    I love what I’ve heard of this EP thus far.