Aquila - "Imperium" (CD)
"Imperium" track listing:
2. In Our Darkness
3. Within These Flames
4. Kill Or Be Killed
5. Never To Awake
6. Vae Victus
7. Suffer And Solitude
8. No Forgiveness
9. Breathing Fire, Breathing Life
10. Bound For Glory
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on May 12, 2010
Remember the days when metalcore came across like a breath of fresh air, blending melodic thrash-influenced riffs and hardcore, throat-tearing vocals? Aquila's "Imperium" will bring you back to the days of early Killswitch and Shadows Fall, with an extra helping of rhythmic heft to keep things interesting.
This Canadian band has chops to spare. Guitarists Anthony Rimac and Matt Shelson tear it up on tracks like the punk-influenced "No Forgiveness," which then gives way to a melodic part featuring female guest vocalist Cerah Steele. There are plenty of great guitar solos and fills on this album, with the ones in "Bound For Glory" and "Within These Flames" especially standing out. The ax-men also show off a softer style in the opener, "Imperium," and, especially, the knockout acoustic instrumental "Vae Victus."
But, as great as their riffing is, Rimac and Shelson's greatest talent might lie in knowing when to get out of the way of Matt McGuire's drums. Take, for example, the light-speed thrasher "Suffer And Solitude," in which McGuire's drums often seem to be the lead instrument.
Commenting on Mark Arruda's vocals is a little more difficult, simply because an army of guest vocalists are featured on the disc. Generally, though, the vocals are more than serviceable, with the melodic portion of "No Forgiveness" especially standing out.
On the down side, there are a couple of tracks — as there often are on this kind of album — that come a little too close to cacophony. "Breathing Fire, Breathing Life" is the biggest offender in this regard. Also, Chase Bryant's bass part is largely buried in the mix, though he has a great moment in the sun in "Bound For Glory."
Aquila's "Imperium" brings the fury back to metalcore, creating an album full of aggressive vocals and face-melting riffs and solos. "Imperium" is a mostly great debut from a band that's hopefully on its way to even greater heights.
Highs: "No Forgiveness," "Bound For Glory" and "Vae Victus."
Lows: "Breathing Fire, Breathing Life" a little to cacophonous, plus a little more bass would be nice.
Bottom line: A mostly great debut album that brings back the early fury of metalcore.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Aquila band page.