Released: 2010, Metalville
Thank the gods this album is called “Portrait of a Hanged Man” and not “Portrait of a Hung Man” or we’d be censoring the album cover artwork as none of us need to see that! Or if you do, then this ain’t the website for it! Ha! So anyway, onto the album, one which again has Imagika proving why they are the best underground power/thrash metal band from the USA…and yea, nearly the world! The amount of time that this band has been around slugging it out in the underground, while others have risen to greater heights and since fallen into oblivion, is astounding. Although they’ve never risen to the illustrious heights as some other less deserving retro “thrash” bands have in recent years, Imagika have something which these scenesters will never have…integrity.
The opening track “Scared to Death” is one of the album’s strongest. It’s a take no prisoners kind of song that keeps the heaviness flowing with even a hint of death metal with vocalist Norman Skinner doing a decent growl a la Chuck Billy. The opening riff to “The Hit” is awesome, very classic metal sounding, a slight change of pace from typical Imagika style. The opening guitar to “Simple Servant” sound great; I love these kinda open string pull-off guitar things. When it’s harmonized, so much the better! “One World” again has a great opening riff which then gives way to a wicked drum pattern. “A God No More” is a neat brooding instrumental which features a fair amount of clean guitar, something I typically have no interest in, but it breaks things up here. The ass kicker, “Halo of Flies” starts with near black metal riffing and WTF is that, blast beats? Yep…and they do it rather well! I really liked how this one kicks off showing again that Imagika are far from out of ideas. The only negative comment I can make it that I’m not much of a fan of the down-tuned riffing like on the beginning of “My Final Hour” and “Keep The Wolves At Bay” – both turn around to be good songs, it’s just I don’t like the messy 'jugga jigga wuggas' style of riffing.
If you’ve heard and enjoyed Imagika in the past, then without doubt, PORTRAIT OF A HANGED MAN will also be to your liking. If you are a fan of classic thrash, the kind that has melody and not crappy hardcore influences, then Imagika are a band you would do well to check out. They continue to deliver the goods, to hell with pandering to what is the flavour of the year, these guys are the real deal and are easily one of the best US metal bands out there. For this, I’ve been a loyal follower of Imagika for many years to the point where my glowing reviews of their albums are perhaps a foregone conclusion to anyone that’s taken notice…maybe someone else here at Metal-Rules.com should write a review? :) Regardless, I will prattle on about how great Imagika are as they deserve the support and admiration! Hail to the metal of Imagika!