Imminent Sonic Destruction. Correct me if I’m off base here, but that name conjures up a no-holds-barred Metalcore squad. One that delivers an almost incomprehensible mix of downtuned chugging, guttural emanations, and a bevy of blast beats. Right?
Wrong. I am off base. Way off. With Triumphia on Luxor Records, ISD proves to be a band that falls right in my wheelhouse – a Prog Metal group with tons of melody, outstanding vocals (the occasional harshness), and superior songwriting skills. This album has been on almost continuous play for a month now, each time getting better. Is it perfect? No, but it is quite excellent.
This Detroit-based collective led by guitarist/vocalist Tony Piccoli delivers a mix of the sublime and the crushingly heavy all while maintaining a core of sound of compelling Prog Metal. The press release describes ISD as a band that delivers music that is “at times melodic, complex, epic and crushingly heavy, drawing on the members’ various influences, which cover the full spectrum of prog, rock, and metal.” I think that about sums it up.
Triumphia is billed as a concept album, and while there is probably an underlying story, I haven’t yet deciphered it. Musically, however, there are some recurring themes that pop up throughout the album on different tracks. Opening song The Crashing Waves, taking a while to really get going, turns into a song that’s infectious in melodic terms and complex enough to generate interest. Embarking on a journey over an hour long, the opener clocks in at over 11 minutes, but the first couple are essentially sound effects. It’s tough to sum up a track that long in just a couple of sentences. Suffice to say, if you’ve come to love Prog Metal, this will satisfy. This track alone has pulled me into the grasp of ISD. The first half of the song seems to be somewhat of an overture for the album, while the second is kind of brooding, lyrically about separation and distance. Something in the Way starts out gently in a 7/4 time signature, eventually becoming a crushing bit of Metal, reminding me of moments of The Ocean’s Pelagial from a few years ago.
Favorite song The Fog is the overall heaviest and most aggressive of the bunch. The first several minutes are sure to induce some headbanging with the straight ahead riffing and a doomish chorus. Later, the track takes a darker turn for several minutes in which the members’ instrumental chops are on display. On the latter third they return to the original theme of an almost galloping riff, switching it up to make for an interesting take. Sleepless turns the melody of The Fog on its head and is a nice antithesis to the former track as a lighter take on the theme, although the chorus crushes. Lake of Fire also takes a more subdued approach, though there are some distorted guitars once the song gets rolling. There’s a forbidding feel that builds as the song progresses with a crescendo to a wonderful conclusion. The Knife pulls in a close second to The Fog. Downtunned riffing, off beat rhythms, and some Doom Metal laden guitar work introduce the song. Musically this may be the most intense song from beginning to end. The band unleashes a driving force that deserves to be heard.
ISD wraps up Triumphia with Arborous Calm, a song clocking in at over 22 minutes. Comprising nearly a third of the album, it would be simple to call this epic and leave it at that. Introing with an acoustic guitar passage, remeniscient of Yes or maybe Pink Floyd, it doesn’t take long for ISD to get into the meat of the song. Reflecting even more classic influences, there are a couple of keyboard passage that are very Rush-like. A bit over halfway, the song essentially becomes a reprise of the various musical themes heard throughout the album, although there are some new parts as well.
Check out The Fog:
Triumphia is an ambitious effort, one which I think sounds like Imminent Sonic Destruction accomplished what they set out to do. Prog Metal fans get this album and rejoice – you will not be disappointed.
I hear the sound in a Metal way.
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