For the Imperium - Hail the Monsters - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

For the Imperium - Hail the Monsters

by Amy Putman Rating:10 Release Date:2013-03-11

I always find it harder to write about bands I really, truly love. I can effervesce effusively about them while face-to-face with a poor, unwitting, real-life sounding board, banging on and on about every gorgeous detail as my friend's eyes glaze and freeze and cataract over with boredom. On the page, though, something happens when I want to convey delight.

It's like my puppyish, bounding, pure enthusiasm finds it impossible to render and condense into mere type. I feel that, however much I try, I will never truly capture and convey the glorious music, will never trap the resultant emotions in the prison of little black and white squiggles. It's as though faced with a situation where smiles, breathlessness, wide eyes and wild gesticulation are absent, language seems barren, insufficient. There's a gap between definition and meaning which only human senses can fill. I end up just wanting to write THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT, then copy and past to fill the text box.

This album is probably the hardest to write about of all the reviews I have ever written. Beyond music, this review is harder than any I have done for literature or theatre, art or film. This is not just the best album of 2012 or 2013. This is the best album I have heard since Turisas released The Vangarian Way in 2007.

I could fill some space by gobbling up words and greedily scattering them, but no wordiness could adequately describe the joy this music generates in me. It is fun yet serious; epic yet experimental; inspiring yet honest; original yet polished and resonant. To suggest a genre is to insult the band. They manage to make space opera seem viable as a genuine form of expression.

They blend Armageddon Dildos-esque electro with roaring riffs, super-speed guitar fiddling, and manic drums, sometimes frenetic and sometimes poignant. They keep a pace and energy which is hard to keep up with but a beauty to experience. There's an occasional whiff of Metallica; a tang of Tool; a tiny spot of Hatebreed; a dash of Orange Goblin; a soupcon of Soil; some other delicious mercury taste on the tip of my tongue which I can't quite remember. And yet they are none of these - they remain entirely their own.

They roll and rut with seeming abandon but total control. Like mad children finger-painting, they chuck in chunky colours as they see fit, but do so with a deep skill which is natural talent, never failing, slipping easily between styles and genres without missing a beat or breath. It's the aural equivalent of Conan punching out the camel, if Conan was also the world's best gigolo, and flying a space cruiser.

In fairness, For the Imperium have had plenty of practice - this is their fifth album. Their hard work has definitely paid off, however, with a perfectly polished series of songs, each equally great. Great is definitely the word - there is nothing lo-fi, pared-down, subtle or humble about their work but that is, in part, what makes it so glorious.

Fans of new indie, folk, Britpop, old-indie, new-rave, post-punk, anyone who likes James Blunt, and people who listen to Coldplay need not bother. On the other hand, fans of anything metal (except maybe spotty youths only interested in extreme-death-metal and noise-core) will love and embrace this. It begs you to devil-sign, fist-pump, gyrate, head-bang, roar, cheer, and air-guitar.

What I really can't fathom is why For the Imperium are supporting Breed 77 in their current tour. I mean, I suppose there's a similar act of blending and energy, if you ignore the fact that I've basically just said that champagne is kind of fizzy, a bit like Lambrini. Just to clarify, For the Imperium is champagne in that analogy.

It's not that Breed 77 are terrible, but they should definitely be the supporters in this situation. They're like the bland crackers you nibble before the real food comes. They are a poor man's System of a Down, with added boredom, repetition and whine. Not awful but a bit 'ugh'; something to chat over in a crowded bar. If they go on stage after For the Imperium, they will be reduced to a downbeat of dull, overcast, crusting over the brilliant, blazing supernova of their support. For the Imperium are wild renegades, carving anthems for warriors of the future from the sturdy trees of today's metal scene.

I give this album a 10/10 apologetically. I gave it to other people thinking they were amazing, never knowing or even guessing for a second that something this wonderful was just around the corner. Something which would make them seem like Fool's Gold. Now I have rashly left nothing to separate For the Imperium with. Let it be known that I am sorry. I only wish I could give them a 13/10, or my firstborn, or some similar tribute. Alas, my poultry 100 per cent stamp of quality is all I have to give. Forgive me, Great Ones, I am poor.

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