Review: “When Kings Meet” by Imperium

It has been a whirlwind of a year or more for London Groove Thrash outfit Imperium. The summer of 2022 saw them take a bow on the New Blood stage of Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2022 having won the London segment of the infamous Metal 2 The Masses competition. September then saw the release of their debut self titled EP, a well received record which has gone on to surpass 72k of streams with big single “Here Comes The Night” becoming an instant fans favourite. Club shows with the likes of HelgrindBlood Oath and Red Method swiftly followed, with more to come courtesy of Unearthed Music Management. That requires more new material and to that end, the band turned to the tried and tested, once again entrusting Oz Craggs at Hidden Tracks Studios (Lauren Harris, Richie Faulkner, Gallows) to record, mix and master sophomore EP “When Kings Meet“. Tasking Ewan Bennett with harnessing the devastating drum detonations of James Hawes and commissioning Daniel ‘The Pitforge’ Porta (Hirax, Unto Others, Haunt) to create the artwork…

As a collection, the new material has had the rough edges sanded off courtesy of the live arena, the band having the opportunity to test their cryptic writings in front of crowds up and down their green and pleasant land and tighten a few screws or loosen a few bolts accordingly. That’s not something that every band has the chance to do but in the long run being able to do it has a tendency to pay off handsomely and to all intents and purposes it does here. The onslaught begins with the title track “When Kings Meet“, a powerhouse cut that blends old school nostalgia with a bloodlust. Elements of Groove, Thrash and Traditional Heavy Metal are all in the mix with Ben Porter’s gruff vocals providing a focal point. Staccato riff breaks and well executed false endings make way for a classic incendiary solo from Hardip Sagoo, who has clearly been brought up on a diet of gasoline, bullets, Exodus and Iron Maiden. After such a towering entrance, the neck snapping “Desperate Screams” takes hold, its sing-a-long chorus exposing a powerful lyrical narrative while being surrounded by cloak of timeless riffs and “Master Of Puppets” album era Metallica vibes. There are actually a couple of moments when if they suddenly switched into that album title track it wouldn’t surprise and having covered “Creeping Death” in the past, they’ve nailed their colours firmly to the mast. One of the great things about this record is that timelessness. There is nothing to tie this to the here and now in terms of writing or musicianship, only perhaps the modern production value giving it away. As a record it could have surfaced at any point over the past forty odd years and sounded just as good then as it does now. That’s the classic nature of this record, something that will appeal to Metal Heads young and old alike as well as being a testament to just how good this group are as musicians.

Another slab of British steel “Capable Of Murder” keeps the quality of the record high without deviating from the bands core sound, a flamboyant extended solo the icing on the cake. Oz Craggs has given them clarity and tone to add to their power and prowess and the result is astounding as confidence flows through their veins in abundance, giving everything a real verve and swagger and the consistency across each of these tunes ensures that together everything sounds fantastic. That’s not just from the boards themselves but in terms of musicianship as well. To deliver one or two fantastic songs on an EP is one thing, to deliver four is another. As if that wasn’t enough, Imperium bring out “Iron Thunder“, a song which has both melody and force at its bitter black heart as well as being another powerful statement piece. An earworm old school Thrash riff, a sing-along-chorus of arena filling stature and a blistering extended solo just on the right side of virtuoso? It as it all and if it got picked up and made the anthem of the next James Bond film then it would put the band on the World stage. It’s that good. “When Kings Meet” finds Imperium as a band on fire, a raging inferno that will engulf everything in their path. The sky is the limit for this London quintet, they have in their arsenal what it takes to conquer the World [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. When Kings Meet
  2. Desperate Screams
  3. Capable Of Murder
  4. Iron Thunder
  5. Capable Of Murder (Live at Bloodstock Festival 2022)
  6. Where Kings Meet (Live at Bloodstock Festival 2022)

When Kings Meet” by Imperium is out 23rd September 2023

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