|Review: Imperial Vengeance - At the Going Down of the Sun|
|At the Going Down of the Sun|
Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2009
Review online: September 29, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
for:At the Going Down of the Sun
Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (9 Votes)
Another album that took a few spins to get into. On my first few listens, I felt like I was brought back to 2000-2001 when "seriously symphonic" Black Metal was the big thing – you probably know the kind: Black Metal with lots of keyboards and other orchestration that often sound like they're not really following the song – two songs for the price of one, basically. You either like or you don't. I had overdosed on the genre back then, so this here was kind of a little shock to the system.
Imperial Vengeance mix a bit of blasting Black and Death together, along with a few more thrashy passages and a few quiet, sad but soothing passages with some other instrument whose name escape me (probably programming rather than the actual instrument anyway.) The symphonic/orchestral/keyboards/etc stuff is impossible to ignore here – they use this a lot, and it sure doesn't yield to the guitars and drums, sometimes completely overpowering them. As I mentioned earlier, this often result in the feeling that you are listening to two separate songs, with the "traditional metal instruments" on one side, and the keyboards on the other, both sides pretty much fighting for the listener's attention. But there are passages where everything is more "in sync" if you will, flowing together pretty nicely.
The band's lyrical subject is apparently the past glory of the British Empire, but with mostly BM screeches and rasps, as well as a few DM-ish growls that are not always decipherable, it's hard to tell – definitely made me long for a lyrics sheet, since I never say no to a bit of war history. The album's cover art sure highlights what's inside, with the floating Union Jack with soldiers marching in the foreground – very cool illustration. The atmosphere of the album sure follows war storytelling, with parts completely devastating (read: fast and without mercy), then quieting down to near silence, which makes you think of the end of a battle, and then there are the epic-sounding parts that can be quite captivating.
Good album overall, though the clash between symphonics and pure metal can sound disorderly (in a bad way) at times. This put me off at first, so a few listens are warranted before passing judgment. This is one band I'd be keeping an eye on. Hell, I might just get the real album just so I can read that booklet.
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