Released: 2004, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Originally known as Imperator before realizing what remarkably bad English that was, this is about half death-metal tour-de-force, and half pretentious bullshit. It’s like some Cynic-loving prog-ass keeps playing “Song Of The Humpback Whale” while I’m trying to listen to Nile. This band desperately wants to be the next Hate Eternal, and probably masturbate themselves to sleep at night with dreams of being the next Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. And truthfully, they achieve neither. This is no Death; this is no Into Eternity. Hear that? It’s the sound of Robert Fripp shaking his head, and walking away.
Forging a sinister New Age kinship with Windham Hell, the album begins with a Kitaro (!) inspired ambient piece (a six-minute ambient piece, at that!). Then come the Steve Roach-style guitar janglies, and then…ROOOAAARRRR!!!!! (And sadly, I don’t mean Voivod.)
Here is the Mithras formula (Am I spoiling it? Is this like the Neiman Marcus cookie?): Spacey ambience…jangly guitar wanking (with echo and reverb)…then BLUUUUAAARRRRRRGH!!!!
That’s it…every song. Did I mention that the drums sound like a machine? If those bass peddles are pushed in any way by human feet (thousands of triggers not withstanding), I swear I’ll buy a fucking T-shirt. But somehow, I doubt this circus shall come to my neighborhood any time soon.
What nags at me (and my weary, jaded ears) is that the fruity space-cadet guitar jangling continues unabated throughout the songs—as if it were just a bunch of static guitar patterns that were layered over the songs, post-prod, with no real relation to the song-structures themselves. Need atmosphere? Layer some more New Age trance shit on top! That’ll summon the ancients!
Don’t get me wrong—it grows on you, strangely enough, and every band must have a schtick. I actually found a few songs getting repeat spins (“Psyrens,” “Transcendence,” and the album’s sole haunting moment, “They Came And You Were Silent.”). Vocally, this leaves a lot to be desired. The vox are forceful enough—that’s not the problem—but there is no range, and no variation. For the level of “higher consciousness” these guys are smoking, you’d think they’d mix things up a bit.
The cover features what appears to be cosmic green ass-nuggets racing toward the Earth. Their logo just screams “Cut-Out Bin Kings.” But you know what? Fans of Nile, Vader, and Hate Eternal might just get bored enough to enjoy this offal.