Imperious
Varus

Though hailing from Bavaria, Germany  it does not take a genius to figure out Imperious‘ influence; the band name, album named after a Roman general, and song titles like “Segestes’ Charge”, “The Battle Of The Teutoburg Forest” and “Three Legions March”. All it’s missing is a a quote or sample from the opening battle of Gladiator.

With themes heavily rooted in the Roman world, and this album specifically with the Roman Empires exploits in Northern Germany, you’d expect music that imbued battles, legion, vast forests and heroic acts , and Imperious do a pretty good job of doing so  without forcing the issue. Much the way some Viking metal bands imbue Viking imagery and moods with their riffs and subtle structures, Imperious are able to convey their themes with their music without relying on gimmicks or synths.

Musically, Imperious at a base level play a form of blackened war/death metal that’s both suitably epic yet extreme enough to fit the subject matter. Its not quite as savage as Spearhead or Forest of Impaled, as Imperious have a slightly more measured and drawn out approach, but those bands could be a suitable starting reference point. I also get a little bit of a Primordial vibe from the epic, but organic  and rousing riffs.

The songs , other than the intro “Prologue” are all pretty long ranging from 7 minutes all the way to the 19 minute penultimate track “9 A.D, Autumn” and there’s just enough atmospheric and thematic touches such as deep spoken words, acoustics and subtle moments to remind you of the historical subject matter. But like the subject matter, the album is pretty deep, and not really a quick casual listen as the songs are longer, take a while to develop and often full of turns and shifts that require your full attention. But once you fully dive in, be prepared for a world of legions of armatura, gladius’s, hasta’s and scutums.

It’s obvious that Imperious have knowledge of the history behind the music, but they are also competent musically balancing some blackened blasts, raspy vocals and war mongering lurches with some suitably epic, Romanic marches. From “Publius Qunctilius Varus” to the closing “Quinctili Vare, Legiones Redde”, the album is pretty damn epic and enthralling, though it is a pretty lengthy slog, clocking in at over 70 minutes. And like I stated, the music doesn’t bash you over the head or force its historical nature. But riffs like the opening of “Urminius” or the epic  “The Battle Of The Teutoburg Forest” do a good job of taking you back in time. And the aforementioned “9 A.D, Autumn” , (where the Primordial reference really hits home) while reeeeeeeally long does a great job of being a sprawling mid paced track without being boring. Though they probably should have closed the album with it as the  9 + minute  “Quinctili Vare, Legiones Redde” that follows, despite being another quality, more somber track,  is almost my attention span limit.

The only real downside to this release is physical, not musical as it comes in the dreaded DVD case, but beyond that, with Spearhead and now Imperious,  a pretty brutal part of European history now has a respectable presence in extreme metal.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 19th, 2011

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