Imperial Destruction is a band that has been around for quite a while in the metal scene in South Africa, and a definite force to be reckoned with! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live a few times over the past year, and they always seem to blow me away. They’re music is dark, beautiful and oh so wonderfully dirty, it demands your attention! So you can imagine how badly the fans of Imperial were awaiting for their debut album, and how happy they were when they heard Ruinous was on its way. Ecstatic, to say the least. Listening to this album now, it was definitely worth the wait, and can satisfy just about any death metal fan’s appetite.
The album opens up with a song titled, “The Witch Hunt”. Which starts with rather dark, and somewhat soothing intro and all of a sudden, the song barrages you with urgency and aggression. Not without adding some great melody and groove in the mix. This song warms you up in just the right way to prepare you for what’s to come.
Vocalist, Jason Mordryc, is the perfect vocalist for the band and it shows throughout the whole album. Jason tends to keep to low growls for the majority of the album. Although, it may appear to some that Jason lacks some of the range needed for the genre of music, this is not the case. Jason has a very unique set of vocal abilities that may not be taken up by the traditional death metal vocalist. Jason’s low growls are the perfect amount of beastly for Imperial’s core sound, as its rather effective in expressing the aggression and forceful manner of the band behind him displays. There are high screams throughout the album, that sound absolutely amazing, but most of them sound strained and forced unfortunately. Another powerful attribute to the vocals is almost, if I could describe it, a gritty whisper. This heavily adds to Imperial’s darker and more atmospheric side, because let’s be honest, it sounds like Satan whispering to you in your dreams at 3am.
Imperial Destruction’s sound focuses heavily on groove, melody and urgency. These guys do what’s absolutely vital to make the best out of the songs they create. They don’t mind going from super heavy, to a more chilled melodic section or even from a very groovy interlude, to something more aggressive and rhythm orientated. Drummer, Evan Fourie, is a drummer that can easily do the most complicated stuff, but also keeps in mind what’s tasty, and what’s not. He easily can swing a song going a certain groove, into a completely different one with ease, and does it tastefully and when the song demands it. His blast beating is crazy fast, his footwork is absolutely incredible, and he plays with so much power and diversity and caters to the songs in a big way. The guitars and bass, well, are crafted beautifully. Again, it’s not always seriously complicated, but it caters to crafting the best song you can make. From the guitars, we get beautiful melodies, aggressive rhythm riffage, and some seriously atmospheric feels that will make you lose your mind (those solos…damn son). May I just add that those bass lines… damn, that’s some pretty impressive stuff. Nothing better than a bassist that can create such sick lines for interludes and makes sure he’s heard throughout the chaos. Respect.
Some songs though (1 or 2) really didn’t impress me too much, namely “Like Wolves that Bear their Teeth” and “Age of Ra”. I felt these were rather dull and didn’t climb into the diversity and ‘Largeness’ of the other tracks on the album. Another thing is the production. On some of the tracks, it is a little inconsistent. Sometimes it’s beautiful and clear, and sometimes it sounds like a barrage of unclear sound. Most times, all instruments are perfectly audible, and sometimes they slip far under the radar.
Imperial Destruction has released an album that is pretty much top notch, and a damn good release at that. Dark, gritty, aggressive and full on atmospheric is Imperial Destruction. Besides the few inconsistencies, I really enjoyed this and can’t wait for the next one! Until then, our swords shall Hunger!
Don’t forget to check out Imperial Destruction‘s Facebook page.