Album Review: Imperialist – Cipher (Self Released)


Self released on November 28th 2017, Cipher is the debut album from US based black metal band, Imperialist.

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After an overly long melodic intro, Cipher takes shape with a hail of guitar & drums that feels designed to punch a hole in your head. Showing off a heavy blackened death metal style, the vocals add a certain darkness to events.

The Singularity has plenty of metal aggression but lacks a hook that makes it a memorable listen. It’s followed by the droning drum beat & the same up-tempo pace of Advent Anathema. A track that only really comes to life with occasional breaks in rhythm.

Splendour Beneath an Ancient Permafrost has a bit more life to it, giving off a more icey cold black metal sound. The vocals are particularly strong here, the nastiness driving the beat on but a decent riff helps keep things interesting too.

The biggest flaw with Cipher is its lack of imagination. It’s a really solid black metal record that isn’t interested in atmosphere or melody. Absolutely nothing wrong with that but it’s also one that doesn’t do anything to really excite either.

When Imperialist do get things right they then have a habit of just not knowing when to stop. Umbra Tempest & The Dark Below go on for far too long resulting in a lot of switching off & zoning out. It’s a pity as both these songs have flashes of brilliance particularly with some great guitar riffing & soloing.

Cipher ends on Mercurian Dusk, one final heavy trip through all the extreme-ness that Imperialist has brought so far. A decent finish on an album that ticks a lot of the right boxes but stumbles elsewhere.

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Imperialist – Cipher Full Track Listing:

1. Continuum
2. The Singularity
3. Advent Anathema
4. Splendour Beneath an Ancient Permafrost
5. Umbra Tempest
6. Chronochasm
7. Binary Coalescence
8. The Dark Below
9. Mercurian Dusk

You can pick up the debut EP, Quantum Annexation over on Bandcamp where the album will soon be available. You can also listen to some of Imperialist’s music on Soundcloud & YouTube. Keep up to date with news by liking them on Facebook & following them on Instagram.

Imperialist - Cipher (Self Released)
  • 6/10
    The Final Score - 6/10
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