"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Imperial Triumphant - "Shrine to the Trident Throne" (CD)

Imperial Triumphant - "Shrine to the Trident Throne" CD cover image

"Shrine to the Trident Throne" track listing:

1. Hierophant
2. Manifesto
3. Crushing the Idol
4. Credo in Nihil
5. Devs Est Machina
6. Scaphism
7. S.P.Q.R.
8. Bellvm
9. Sodom
10. Gomorrah

Reviewed by on June 24, 2014

"While the album appropriately exudes evil, Imperial Triumphant offers up another reason to belt forth a hearty 'Hail Satan!' – there's a bass guitarist in a black metal band, and he's legitimately part of the overall sound!"

Combining the “Abominamentvm” full-length album with the “Goliath” EP togvthvr as one for a release via Code666 Records, “Shrine To The Trident Throne” introduces an unsuspecting world to the disturbing black metal assault of Imperial Triumphant. Combining traditional frozen black metal blasting with a horror cult mentality, this 10-track release breaks the rules of the genre while still giving the cult black metal fans a taste of what they want.

Much of “Shrine To The Trident Throne” comes across as a discordant flurry of sound, playing up the creepy vibe with out-of-sync pianos and hallucinatory background sounds. Although not quite on the same level of darkness as Dodecahedron or Deathspell Omega, the album definitely goes in that direction and will easily appeal to fans of those bands. The interlude tracks “Credo In Nihil” and “Scaphism” especially are worthy of a psychological or Lovecraftian horror film score, and the ear destroying wall of fuzzy scratches at the end of “Devs Est Machina” is clearly meant to set the listener on edge.

While the album appropriately exudes evil, Imperial Triumphant offers up another reason to belt forth a hearty “Hail Satan!” – there's a bass guitarist in a black metal band, and he's legitimately part of the overall sound! This is becoming less of a “once in a blue moon” scenario than it used to be in the black metal scene, but it's still rare enough to be worth mentioning, and it sets the U.S. group ahead of the pack in that regard at least.

While six to seven minute songs cap the album, the rest of the release keeps everything down to nice trim and fit track lengths. The last two tracks aren't quite as strong as the preceding material as the formula gets dragged out for twice as long as normal, but they aren't bad offerings by any means and nicely send off an overall very-strong release for fans who like their black metal to actually sound evil, rather than just looking the part in the band photos.

Highs: Makes black metal actually sound evil and genuinely unsettling.

Lows: The ending tracks are a bit overlong, and the discordant quality won't work for everyone.

Bottom line: From a prominent bass sound to the discordant and terrifying nature of the music, Imperial Triumphant does black metal the way it should be, rather than sticking to the cookie cutter formula.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)