IMPERTHEAN – “THE SOUNDS ABOVE”:
Album Review By: Sem Eterna
Imperthean's "The Sounds Above" is a thoroughly entertaining and convincing amalgam of different influences effortlessly molded into a vividly cinematic, impressively mature debut album. The artist manages to conduct his musical inspiration like a flawless orchestra where symphonic black metal merges with darkly sweeping, synthetic waves of industrial goth, and razorblade lashings of pure death metal guitar riffs interplay with uniquely evil "cyber-rap" vocals. All of this is masterminded with the skills of a consumed professional producer: this album truly sounds like the polished soundtrack to an epic sci-fi horror film.
The intro to the album, the evocatively haunting "Sanctuary", immediately lures you to the edge of a threateningly dark world, which thresholds you are masterfully invited to enter with the following track. "Welcome to my New Earth…" is the majestic opening line of "Eye of Horus": it will spin you inside an exciting multi-dimensional journey you will want to experience again and again. As you are taken through the 14 tracks, it becomes clear that this is in fact a fascinating concept album; an enthralling saga where minimal and yet highly poetic lyrics tell the shockingly brutal story of a race as it is being crushed into extinction. For this dark sci-fi approach, and for the clarity of artistic vision as a whole, this work reminds me of Voivod circa "Nothingface", and for its intensely fascinating cinematic approach it is reminiscent of the darkest Crystal Method circa "Spawn". As far as creativity goes, the influence that Emperor and Ihsahn at their most wonderfully evil & epic clearly have on Imperthean is turned by this guy's ability and talent into a totally individual and magick sound. A sound that is never blatantly apocalyptic, but rather echoing the majestic yet sad beauty of a massive glacier melting inexorably into nothingness as its slashed edges plunge into the sea…
A big part of Imperthean's captivating allure is due to the fact that his music and lyrics merge into a single cry which seems to reach us from outer space: the smart stop-starty scratching-like effects and the fuzzy eeriness of the vocals almost evoke a broken-down transmission from some unearthly being trying to reach us before it becomes too late. The being warns us and curses us, speaking heart-heavy words of regret, venomous rage and hate. As the story reaches its epilogue, it becomes apparent that this broken-down voice, barely able to reach our deaf ears, is indeed the collective voice of human conscience.
Exactly like his sound, Imperthean's lyrics might seem fiercely detached and fiercely brutal at first, but as the conclusive tracks testify, the artist reveals his compassion towards a race hell-bent on self-destruction. Deliberately avoiding pinpointing the many factual causes of our downfall, he sings with gut-wrenching desperation about our blind ignorance and selfishness. "Into this Earth", pivotal track (n.7) of this captivating saga, is a beautiful, touching display of empathy towards the wonderful forces of nature which equilibrium we have stupidly managed to alter, with catastrophic consequences. "Titan" follows, one of the shining jewels of the album, a sweeping and majestic funereal march filled with amazing sounds: the far-away, creaking, mysterious voice slowly reciting: "Higher, new, as we approach this glorious shining form, we will". Pure magick! Then "Once Future" explodes: the most evil and disturbing track on the album, a chilling outpour of brutal truths over a sinister apotheosis of masterfully distorted, stuttering sounds creating a fantastically melancholy cacophony.
But wait, it still gets better: the three conclusive tracks to "The Sounds Above" are truly awesome! "Empyrean" is yet another macabre epic beauty ("Earth is gone, few are here now, the stars illuminate our passage"), followed by the instrumental "Arise" with its floaty ripples of sour sweetness reminiscent of a flight of ghosts; and finally, "Chiaroscuro" simply stuns for its poignant grandiosity drenched in sadness & hope ("Infinity has been breached, I call to all things that once lived, hear me and we will float away to the stars to find once fragile beauty").
In conclusion, the remarkable cohesiveness amongst all its elements makes "The Sounds Above" an extremely worthwhile listen that not only flows, entertains and delights, but also becomes a compulsive experience: once hooked, you will not tire to play this album a million times over… Imperthean's debut album is a guaranteed investment for the New Year. This artist is displaying enormous potential as his brilliant cinematic music can easily captivate the imagination of all sorts of audiences, so I hope a capable and smart label will offer him the support he deserves! I can only begin to imagine what this seriously talented guy from Cleveland could achieve by putting together a live show that visually matched the power and expanse of his music. Perhaps Imperthean has landed on earth to mastermind our funeral…
Read more at: www.myspace.com/imperthean