St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Happy New Year once again! Today’s Death Metal Monday feature band IMPRECATION carries through two recent themes: they were the focus of one of Repulse Records’ “Resurrecseries” compilations (as was last week’s HETSHEADS), and they hail proudly from Texas just like last Thursday’s old metal heroes HELSTAR. The 1995 collection we’ll discuss, Theurgia Goetia Summa, neatly catalogs all of IMPRECATION’s recordings of the time, which was prior to their initial breakup.
The band never made it to full-length status before first calling it quits, so what you find on Theurgia Goetia Summa is mish-mash of songs and production values that includes their 1994 promo, 1993 Sigil of Baphomet EP and 1992 Ceremony of the Nine Angels demo, in that order. Appropriately Satanic-occult cover art from Chris “Thorncross” Moyen rounds out this indulgently demonic material nicely.
(The upload here is fairly noisy and low-quality, but I hope it will provide the right idea. Despite my comment about variable production values above the actual CD is a much better treatment. Your other option is to listen to the free stream at the Bandcamp of Deathrune Records here. These blokes were kind enough to reissue this disc in 2012.)
Through the downtuned morass, a few listens reveal there’s a little more variation here than may be apparent at first blush. The early demo material (tracks 6 through 9 on the original disc) ride consistent blast beats with a very grindcore-like fervor. With just a twist of malevolence and patient skill in the riffing, it sounds evil enough to recall BLASPHEMY or early BEHERIT more than NAPALM DEATH or TERRORIZER. The follow-up EP (tracks 4 and 5) are a nearly wholehearted Onward to Golgotha tribute, right down to the rounded-off guitar sound and twisted tremolo accents, though with the addition of more grind-like speed (and some truly mmm…creative use of the bass drums during the hyperblast sections).
The final promo and opening CD tracks, while more developed and differentiated (and with “improved” production, though judge for yourself), can be hit or miss in terms of effect. At this point the band had embraced a full-fledged black metal element manifesting itself as keyboards, suspended single-note picking and a much more common throaty vocal snarl. There are certainly some nice surprises: the hyper-ugly galloping power chords add an excellent disconcerting feel, and the second track in particular (“The Throne is Lost”) showcases frenetic songwriting that contributes mightily to the morbidity the band is pushing. At its best, the 1994 promo material is reminiscent of the ABSU material from the same period (the debut Barathrum: V.I.T.R.I.O.L. very much in particular) or of the ABSU-related MAGUS and their Ruminations of Debauchery demo. As with both of those recordings, the chaos can sometimes be unintentionally overwhelming even where the atmosphere and intent are top-notch.
As you may have read above, this has thankfully been reissued for the interested masses, though its European distribution makes it a tough (but not impossible!) grab for our fair shop. If you can’t find it there, try the aforementioned ABSU, INCANTATION’s debut or BLASPHEMY Gods of War/Blood Upon the Altar to wallow in the same trademark style of crushing (North) American evil.
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