ive made it clear on a few prior reviews that i’m not much of a metal guy. tried some flavors, and i only rarely find stuff that’s really my taste. i do make an exception for Ghost, so i was extremely excited to see them drop IMPERA on earlier this month.

Imperium is a neat lil instrumental opener, i like the contrast between the powerful electric guitars chords and the soft picking of the acoustic, until the electrics just dominate and take over around the minute mark. very good tone setter. Kaisarion kicks things off proper, with a fiery, blazing opening. neat lyrical content here – the band has talked about this album explicitly dealing with the rise and fall of empires, and this track is the kind of crux of establishing an empire on a new rising faith. the bridge on this track is so so sweet. Spillways is a really nice track. the chorus here shines so beautifully, and the verses do a great job of letting off the gas enough to let the swell in the pre-chorus work. Call Me Little Sunshine was one of the singles for this record – it didnt do a ton for me before the record came out, as nice of a track as it is, but i think its really nice in the context of the record and it def grew on me. dig the sinister vibes on this one. Hunter’s Moon waa the first single off the record, and i really love this one. the swell into the growly “it’s a hunter’s moon” with the guitar work following it is great every time. Watcher In the Sky has some fun culty stuff going on lyrically, and has some neat bits musically. Dominion’s neat – the band has talked about this beimg transitional – the Imperium section is the homeland, Dominion is what’s outside. Twenties was the last single released before the record – i was kinda on the fence leaning favorably about this track, but i think with some time im firmly in favor of this one. its weird, and strange, and feels like a fucked up rally. Darkness At the Heart of My Love has a really neat vibe, with the slower tempo drums and the thing in the pre-chorus where the bass holds for most of the line and then the strums come in time with the words (plus the snaps!), its nice. i really like this track. Griftwood is a track that is unabashedly about those mega preachers and those televangelists and shit. no choice but to love this track. its catchy as fuck too. Bite of Passage is a nice transition into the close, Respite on the Spitalfields. i like this stirring ballad as a way to close out the record

faves – Kaisarion, Spillways, Hunter’s Moon, Twenties, Darkness At the Heart of My Love, Griftwood

dislikes –

yknow, i really dug this record.

musically, this one’s a great time. plenty of catchy choruses, tons of sick riffs throughout, and i was grooving through most of this. i think there’s a nice balance in the stuff thats more intense and fast vs the tracks that have a little more space to breathe. plus Tobias Forge’s vocal delivery remains killer on this record. i love the kind of “dark church” vibe this band cultivates and they do not fail to deliver here.

thematically and lyrically, i really enjoyed the record but feel kinda mixed on some of what i read as far as intent goes. it def played in the spaces of the kinds of mentalities and belief systems needed to prop up an empire, but some of the thematic ties felt a little weak. where it works here it works really well though, and id wager it works more than it doesnt.

IMPERA – 8/10

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