Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Review: Imperialist – Zenith

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date: November 26th, 2021

First of all, let me assure you, this Californian quartet will not get any bonus points for picking my birthday for a release date of their second full length album. Doesn’t matter how cute of a coincidence it is, I’m remaining impartial.

Another thing is that, judging from the names of the members, Imperialist seems to be of Mexican descent. At the same time, they’ve chosen to perform music which clearly has its origins in Scandinavia. Holy hell, I can almost see some racist’s head explode, incapable to cope with this information. Are you feeling okay there Varg?

Joking aside, Imperialist is not kidding anyone with “Zenith”. These guys are as serious as it gets. The record is advertised as an attempt of rebuilding the reputation of old Emperor and Dissection. And from the first moment on, you can clearly hear it. The boys have listened closely, picked up on all the ancient tricks of the trade and pushed the gears into motion again.

Well, I must admit, Imperialist does sound like a bit of a copycat. “Zenith” could have easily been a follow-up to “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”. Nobody would probably know the difference. And let me tell you. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, we haven’t heard many bands going in this direction, so there’s no talk of a bandwagon here.

What’s more, “Zenith” is far from being a poor replica of a masterpiece. And Imperialist has its own ideas to offer, while using a primordial pattern as a guideline. For example, the nicely developed bass lines. Also, one must note the absence of keyboards which does not automatically mean it’s something out of the ordinary, but the way these guys managed to compensate for their lacking is quite impressive.

Also, a thematic orientation towards a futuristic worldview is not what we are used to hearing from the bands that influenced these Americans. Though they were fitted neatly with the music at hand.

However, speaking of the mentioned ideas, “Zenith” is not exactly swarming with great ones. The part of what made Emperor and Dissection legendary bands, back in the day, were memorable songs. Imperialist have failed to make those. They are good enough and make for a very interesting listen, but the test of time was flunked in this try.

Judging from the repeated listening session, within a number of days I’ve had to complete this review, I’m left without a deeper impact. Whatever the impact “Zenith” has during its playtime, it all fades away once it stops. In that regard, the creative force needs to strengthen until that “crucial third record” comes out.

By the way, is the third record still “crucial” as it once was? I’m left baffled by the question. Another one is the fact that this type of music thrived in Scandinavia back in the day, so is it possible to make it just as good anywhere else in the world? We’re living in a global village and that’s a fact, but there seems to be still some differences. Whether the climate, landscape or the sociological traits of certain people or whatever else is at hand. Black metal, as portrayed by Imperialist, is still best groomed in Scandinavia.

Nevertheless, a good hustle guys. Let’s make it even better next time.